Essay PreviewMore ↓
Daisy is the "pretty American flirt" throughout the novella (James 474). She is nice and sweet, but also rebellious and ignorant. Daisy really does not care what society thinks of her. You see this throughout the course of the novel when she goes to Chillon with Winterbourne alone and when she frolics the streets at night with Giovanelli. Most Europeans look down upon American travelers in Europe, especially when they do not follow the customs and culture of their country. This is something that still has not changed today. The Miller family treats their carrier, Eugenio, like one of the family. Typically carriers live and sleep on the lower levels of the house, while Eugenio sleeps on the same level and interacts with the family. This is something that stands out to Winterbourne's aunt, Mrs. Costello because that is unheard of in European culture. When Winterbourne tells Mrs. Costello about Daisy, you can see the symbolism already becoming very prevalent, "They are very common; they are the sort of Americans that one does one's duty by not- not accepting" Mrs. Costello feels very strongly about the Americans in a negative way. She refuses to be introduced to Daisy and tells Winterbourne that she should be more like his cousins from New York. Ironically enough, he has heard that his cousins are "tremendous flirts" (James 478). This is interesting because of Winterbourne's belief that all American girls are flirts.
Daisy did not help her case any of being the typical American flirt when she goes to Italy and meets many different men, including Giovanelli. If the Europeans have not met many Americans and the usually the ones that can afford to travel are rich, they can only assume what America is by what they have seen.
How to Cite this Page
"Symbolism in Daisy Miller by Henry James." 123HelpMe.com. 13 Aug 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- James' manipulation of appearances in Daisy Miller as well as other character's notions of these appearances provides us with a novella of enigmatic and fascinating characters. Daisy, the most complicated of these ambiguities, is as mysterious as she is flirtatious. James gives her a carefully constructed enigmatic quality that leaves the reader wondering what her motivations were and who she truly was. He structures the novella in such a way as to stress the insights that the supporting characters provide into Daisy's character, weather accurate or erroneous.... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller]
1092 words (3.1 pages)
- Daisy Miller is a story related by a young, American man named Winterborne, who lives mostly in Europe. Winterborne meets a lovely young lady named Daisy Miller at a Swiss resort in Vevey. He notices her naiveté, having no reservations about talking to strangers. He befriends this young girl very quickly. He would love to introduce her to his aunt, but she thinks that Daisy is common, vulgar, and refuses to meet her. Daisy and her family decide to leave the resort and visit Italy. Several months passe until Daisy speaks to him again.... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller]
934 words (2.7 pages)
- The controversial short story Daisy Miller: A Study, written by Henry James, depicts a story of a young European man named Winterbourne trying to come to terms with what he thinks about an American girl, named Daisy Miller. Henry James was born in New York in 1843, but lived most his life in Europe. While he was living in Europe he had many encounters with American tourists. After these encounters Henry decided he wanted to explore the difference between the innocent American, and the sophisticated European.... [tags: daisy miller, henry james]
961 words (2.7 pages)
- Society continually places restrictive standards on the female gender not only fifty years ago, but in today’s society as well. While many women have overcome many unfair prejudices and oppressions in the last fifty or so years, late nineteenth and early twentieth century women were forced to deal with a less understanding culture. In its various formulations, patriarchy posits men's traits and/or intentions as the cause of women's oppression. This way of thinking diverts attention from theorizing the social relations that place women in a disadvantageous position in every sphere of life and channels it towards men as the cause of women's oppression (Gimenez).... [tags: literary analysis]
1214 words (3.5 pages)
- The narrator of Henry James’ Daisy Miller contributes to the novella’s realism, as defined by James himself in his essay “The Art of Fiction,” by creating a narrator who acts as an observer to the events described in the story rather than an omniscient narrator who informs the reader of the thoughts of the characters. Rather than focusing on the internal workings of the character’s minds, James focuses on the external details which offers the reader a realistic perspective of the characters and leaves moral judgment to the readers.... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller]
915 words (2.6 pages)
- What is the purpose of Daisy in the novel Daisy Miller by Henry James? Why did James create such a beguiling and bewildering character? Since the publication of James's novel in 1878, Daisy has worn several labels, among them "flirt," "innocent," and "American Girl." Daisy's representation of an American Girl of the late 19th century is evident. Her free-spiritedness and individuality reflect the social movement of the American middle-class. The question of Daisy's innocence, however, remains unanswered. One of the most interesting aspects about Daisy is her distance from the reader. The reader is not given access to Daisy's inner thoughts or emotions. Instead, the reader mu... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller]
2185 words (6.2 pages)
- When Winterbourne first meets Daisy, he is willing to accept her for the vivacious young American girl she is. Although Daisy's customs are not what are expected of young girls in European society, Winterbourne is charmed by Daisy and her original ideals. He defends Daisy to the aristocracy, claiming that she is just "uncultivated" and is truly innocent. As the story progresses, Winterbourne finds himself questioning Daisy's true nature in comparison to the standards of European society.... [tags: Henry James Daisy Miller]
943 words (2.7 pages)
- Henry James' Daisy Miller and "The Beast in the Jungle" are first and foremost powerful tragedies because they employ such universal themes as crushed ambitions and wasted lives. And the appeal of each does not lie solely in the darkening plot and atmosphere, but in those smallest details James gives us. Omit Daisy's strange little laughs, delete Marcher's "[flinging] himself, face down, on [May's] tomb," and what are we left with. Daisy Miller would be a mere character study against the backdrop of clashing American and Euro- pean cultures and "The Beast in the Jungle," a very detailed inner diary of a completely self-absorbed man who deservingly meets his fate in the end.... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller, Beast in the Jungle]
2557 words (7.3 pages)
- Why did James create such a beguiling and bewildering character. Since the publication of James's novel in 1878, Daisy has worn several labels, among them "flirt," "innocent," and "American Girl." Daisy's representation of an American Girl of the late 19th century is evident. Her free-spiritedness and individuality reflect the social movement of the American middle-class. The “depths” of Daisy Miller that Kelley refers to could be read as “unsounded,” since the reader receives little insight to her feelings, and “unappreciated,” based on the perceptions of most characters.... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller]
1730 words (4.9 pages)
- Within each of us lies the potential for good and evil--virtue and vice. Our daily actions reflect the combination of good and bad in a world that is neither black nor white. In literature, however, characters often depict complete goodness or vice in a world that holds no room for a duality of nature. Winterbourne possesses a notion that Daisy Miller must be restrictively good or bad, but the concept is not as black and white as he perceives it to be. A realistic portrayal of Daisy Miller as an infusion of good and bad—virtue and vice—in a world full of gray increases her moral influence upon us, as we too, have inherent dual natures in an imperfect world.... [tags: Henry James, Daisy Miller]
1767 words (5 pages)
Daisy is also young and clueless, as America was at the time. This eventually leads to Daisy's downfall and death. She goes out at night to the Coliseum with Giovanelli, when she was warned not to, and she gets malaria. If she had only listened to others instead of being self centered and unwilling to adapt to the customs, she would have stayed alive and gotten to tell Winterbourne that she was not engaged herself.
Winterbourne, symbolizes the opposite of Daisy. He represents the typical European thought and belief. He has the same generalizations and assumptions about Daisy that all the Europeans do. When Winterbourne is describing her to Mrs. Costello he calls her "completely uncultivated, but she is wonderful pretty" (James 477). The fact that she is uncultivated does not seem to matter to any of the European men in this novella. However she is the center of gossip for the women. Winterbourne, many European men see all American girls as flirts and uncultivated, "But they don't all do these things- all the girls in America" (478). Winterbourne really does not know how all the girls are but he makes his assumptions from those he knows, his cousins and Daisy, as do all the Europeans. The interesting thing is that Winterbourne really does not know what to think about Daisy, he is mystified by her throughout the novella.
Winterbourne does not know if Daisy is really naïve and nice or just pretending to be. He listens to others opinions about her and hold Mrs. Costello's opinion in high regard, although he does defend her in front of others. Winterbourne wants to be able to put that American category on her, but he is having more trouble doing it as the story gets deeper. At the end of the story when Mrs. Miller tells her that she was not engaged and asks if he remembers their trip to Chillon, Winterbourne decides she really is innocent and she cared what he thought about her.
Symbolism is evident in the entire novella of Daisy Miller. The two main characters, Winterbourne and Daisy, represent the most in the novella. Daisy, the pretty American flirt, represents American travelers in Europe. She was ignorant, naïve, did not unwilling to adapt to other's customs, young, and clueless. Winterbourne on the other hand, symbolized the European outlook on American travelers. Although he defended her and changed his views at the end, he still did not know what to think of her, and knew she was uncultivated and did not care what others thought.
James, Henry. Daisy Miller. 1878. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1995