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henry James and Daisy Miller


            
             The plot of Daisy Miller is rather simple; an innocent American girl .
             is destroyed by the world's complexity. Her tragic end is sad but .
             inevitable. Daisy is a wealthy but extremely uncultivated young .
             woman of the American social scene in Europe. The action of the .
             story surrounds her antics, her puzzling behavior, and .
             Winterbourne's fascination with her charming and extremely .
             innocent ways. She is the ultimate freedom-loving American, yet .
             she and the other characters are extremely cognizant of the rules of .
             social position. Her youth, vitality, and beauty are all foils to the .
             tragedy of her wasted life. .
             As the novel progresses, Daisy makes more and more grave social .
             errors. She is mostly oblivious, and it seems her strong-willed .
             selective vision comes from a life of ineffectual parental guidance. .
             Winterbourne tries to warn her, steer her "right," and protect her .
             from her fatal errors, but to no avail. From the beginning to the end, .
             the plot foreshadows this odd girl's demise. .
             Daisy is a vexing set of contradictions, and it becomes easy to both .
             condemn and appreciate her various attributes. As Daisy is .
             developed, so goes the plot; the reader understands that there will .
             inevitably be consequences to her wild actions. At the climactic .
             moment when Daisy is in the Colosseum, the reader realizes her .
             fatal nature. Her poor social situation has turned physical. After her .
             death, the author shows both how she is regarded (her funeral is .
             well attended) and disregarded (no one's life is changed much .
             because of her). To the end, Daisy represents the innocent, exposed .
             to the fickle nature of society and the crushing finality of its .
             perplexing contradictions. .
             OVERALL ANALYSES .
             CHARACTERS .
             Daisy .
             A mass of contradictions, Daisy Miller is American innocence .
             personified. Her "daisy-like" fragility and commonness are evident .
             at every turn. She is childlike, attractive and ultimately fatal to .
             herself. Her stubborn belief in her own interpretation of events .


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