Daisy Miller Essay

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Stereotyping with Daisy Miller First impressions can be a determining factor of whether or not a person should associate with another. Although this is not just, it takes place everyday with people. Judging people on only their surface qualities can result in an inadequate assessment of the person. Stereotyping is a thought or image about a person that is based on little evidence. In Henry James’ novella Daisy Miller, each character plays into the stereotypes of how people should behave. The behaviors of others are judged critically and not always correctly. Stereotyping people leads to potentially incorrect opinions and characterizations of those being judged and does not allow people to get to know others. In Daisy Miller, James presents conflicting value systems between the characters. The main differences depicted are those between the Americans and the Europeans. The Americans are presented as rude, ill mannered, and narcissistic, while Europeans are considered more refined, better mannered, and classier. Thus the reader falls into the trap of believing the stereotypes due to James laying them out at the beginning of the novella. The American reader is reading the story about an American abroad and James introduces Daisy through her brother’s view who thinks anything American is best except his sister (Randall 578). There is also a distinction between those Americans traveling abroad versus those who have relocated and made Europe their permanent residence. The new “Europeans” have left behind their American ways and have fully embraced the attitude and customs of the Europeans. Just on her “hearing” about the Millers, Mrs. Costello, does not want to meet Daisy, “Oh, yes, I have observed them. Seen them – heard them – and kept out of their way (James 13). Thus developing an opinion of Daisy based solely on second-hand information. Because

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