A Story Of A Young American Lady Named Daisy Miller

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This excerpt is taken from Henry James’s Daisy Miller 1878 part one chapter two. This is a short novel or novella published in 1878 in London. It is a story of a young American lady named “Daisy Miller” and her family members who are vacationing in Europe. Daisy is vacationing in a new world and is trying to find a way to learn and adapt to her new surroundings. She is trying to fit in with the high class society but due to her life styles differences she is not accepted in their world. Based on the story, one would assume that the cause of Daisy’s death is consequential; however, there are several given points that suggest it was purely by coincidence and could have happen to anyone. Henry James proves this by the use of characters, setting, themes and symbolism.

The present passage tells that because of looking of the courier to Winterbourne offensively and the understanding of the young man that this looking is an offense to Miss Miller, it made imputation to this young lady. Winterbourne decided to present Miss Daisy Miller to his aunt Mrs. Costello who was a widow man with fortune, i.e., he was wealthy and the one who saw Miss Miller with her charming look and her beauty perfection by meeting and talking with her. Henry James’s Daisy Miller story is directed to audience, that is to say, to youngers, American and European citizens.

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The major theme of this story is the moral lessons in: innocence Vs experience, youth Vs old age, newly rich Vs old fortune, disparity to what is appear and what is appear in real, conflict between American (Daisy Miller) and European (Winterbourne) societies. In addition to the death in the end of story is a punishment in adapting European country (if you deeply norms, you will punish by society) and When in Rome, do as Romans do (Idiomatic Expression about you should do as the other country that you are inside it do)but Daisy does not abide by this ancient percept(civilization and complement country). The minor themes are maternal behaviour (mother of Daisy does not take care, guide and correct mistakes of Daisy, i.e, she does not take role of mother) and both of the respect and reputation of Winterbourne to his aunt Mrs. Costello.

Literary Genre: Daisy Miller is realistic novella belonging to the Genteel Tradition of American Realism. It is a narrative novella of drama genre. The setting is on 1870 in Vevey, Switzerland small resort on the north eastern in Geneva and in Rome, Italy. The actions in this excerpt (part 1) take places in hotel.

The plot consists in the difficulties during vacation ending with the death of Daisy Miller because of adapting New World’s norms (sad ending). The plot in this story based on surprise because we did not wait the death of Miss Daisy Miller at the end of the story and on suspense which make us very hopeful to fish all the events of the story. The plot also conveyed summary telling because Henry James relates the story explicitly the reader and the reader in this case is a receptive only, he makes no efforts to understand the story because everything is clear through narration and description.

Characterization and Symbolization: Protagonist/hero: Daisy Miller: her real name is Annie Miller which is the surname of one of the most common in America. She is extremely pretty young American who is on European tour with her mother and brother she do everything she want. Daisy symbolizes the most common plants that die in summer.

Antagonist: Frederick Winterbourne: 237 Years Old unmarried American expatriate lives in Europe. He is high educated, sophisticated, etc. Winterbourne symbolizes coldness, Winter of course is the coldest season of the year, a bourne is a brook that flows only in the winter.

Eugenio: this name derives from a Greek word meaning well born. Eugenio of course is mere servant a courier. However, the Millers regard and treat him as an equal. Thus, Eugenio is well born to the Millers. Eugenio symbolizes the American principle- stated in the Declaration of Independence- that “all men are created equal”.

Mrs. Costello: aunt of Winterbourne, widow and wealthy man. He is snobbish American heiresses.

Point of view: Henry James use the Third Person Point of View from Limited

Perspective: (Winterbourne in Daisy Miller) and omniscient: know all the events understanding all information about characters, feelings, etc.

Literary Devices: Register: formal narrative language.

Diction: the use of Anglo-Saxon words and the use of formal French words because of the setting Europe and Switzerland for example: “tournure”, “rouleaux” are written in Italic Form and “Chateau de Cillon”.

Figures of Speech: Hyperbole: …“she is wonderfully pretty, and, in short, she is very nice. To prove that I believe it, I am going to take her to the Chateau de Chillon.’”.

Litotes: …’Oh yes, I have observed them. Seen them—heard them—and kept out of their way.’

Tone: reflection of author’s attitude through his work in tis excerpt is absent.

Atmosphere: feeling we feel in the text is the sadness in the story of Daisy Miller because of death of Protagonist Daisy Miller.

Conclusion: At last, we can easily notice Henry James’s talent in the art of writing. Indeed his writing is influential and exhorts the reader to follow the flow of events due to suspense created within the story as a whole. Besides he deals with the social value that’s why he was the first psychologist novelist.


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