The House of Mirth and Daisy Miller

Topics: Marriage, Edith Wharton, Henry James Pages: 2 (782 words) Published: April 10, 2005
Edith Wharton's "The House of Mirth" mainly describes the need of a woman to be married to a wealthy man and how she attempts to find the most appropriate suitor. "The House of Mirth" also observes the tedious physical and mental decline of a young woman who, because of her own weakness and indecisiveness, falls from social distinction into poverty and griminess. The story presents a cruel measure of reality and ends quite sadly. Instead of marrying and living happily, Lily weakens slowly and commits suicide, possibly unintentionally, as a way of evading a lower-class humanity in which her upper-class needs cannot survive. Lily's life is the exact opposite of dignity or beauty; she had many chances to live the kind of life she dreamed of, but lost it all. Similarly, Henry James' "Daisy Miller," is a rich, young, American girl from New York, traveling around Europe with her mother and younger brother. Daisy is a complex combination of traits. She is feisty, independent, and well intentioned, yet she is also petty, ignorant, and unsophisticated. Daisy is also an irritating flirt. She has no public elegance or informal gifts, such as appeal, humor, and a talent for banter. Also she is primarily interested only in influencing men and making herself the hub of interest. Throughout the story, Winterbourne, the love interest of Daisy, is fixated over the issue of whether Daisy is naive, but her behavior by no means reveals whether she is or isn't. Winterbourne accepts that Daisy is crude but wonders whether she is innocent. Frequently, Daisy seems less than innocent since Winterbourne did catch her with another man late at night at the Coliseum, which results in her death from malaria. Overall, it is the way in which Daisy embodies all the different forms of innocence that results in her demise. While the telling of the story is quite similar, "The House of Mirth" is different in the sense that all that character's form of thinking is revealed to the reader. Henry...
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