Daisy Miller Essay

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Analysis of Daisy Miller by Henry James The story Daisy Miller, is a novel that was written by Henry James. Henry James approaches this novel, as well as many of his others, with the social theme of the American society in Europe. James contrasts the lives of the American society with mannered and cultivated lives of the European individuals. This story portrays a romance between a beautiful American girl Daisy Miller and a young American man named Winterbourne. These two characters are extremely different in many ways. There are several themes that are presented in this story such as the differences in cultures between America and Europe, innocence, respectability, and symbolism of the characters names. Henry James focuses on the differences between the two cultures, America and Europe. He concentrates on specific aspects of each society. James presents Americans in his story as wealthy, having beauty, innocence, and freedom. While on the other hand, he characterizes Europeans as sophisticated, well mannered, and cultivated. He portrays the Americans that are traveling in Europe as living the New World’s life, while the native Europeans are living the Old World’s life. This contrast makes it difficult for Americans to understand how to act appropriately in a country other than their own. James realized that these two societies have different manners, values, and customs and he presents these differences through the two main characters, Daisy Miller and Winterbourne. Through his story, he shows the struggle for a young woman to understand the complexities of the European society. He shows the difficulties she experiences when trying to live in a structured society. The young woman, Daisy Miller, is not familiar with this society, as she is familiar with the American society. He portrays how hard it is for her to conform and follow the values and customs.

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