Daisy Miller

In Daisy Miller:A study, the narrative critiques how Victorian society limited women's intellectual growth and personal freedom, I need textual examples of these limitations.

I need eviedence to show examples of these limitations.

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Daisy herself is consistently judged by her appearance, and the fact that she is American. Because of this she is never seen as an 'ideal woman' in Victorian society.

The narrator twice says that Winterbourne sees her as a 'pretty girl (282),' closely followed by 'pretty American girl,'extremely innocent', and yet, 'a flirt—a pretty American flirt (286).'

Winterbourne's aunt warns him to be careful because she doesn't trust her, again based on the fact she is an American with different cultural values; "You will be sure to make some great mistake. You are too innocent." (289)

James gives the character of Daisy a freedom of expression and self that women in Europe didn't see or experience in their own lives. Women were supposed to behave respectively, there were rules for dress, specific expectations, and social expectations to fulfill. At one point Daisy complains, “the young ladies of this country have a dreadfully poky time of it,” and Winterbourne lets Daisy know that, “flirting is a purely American custom; it doesn’t exist here” (251).

Winterbourne toys with Daisy even though he already knows that they have no future, and he does it in a way that no Victorian lady would put up with, but Daisy doesn't know the difference. “You’re a very nice girl, but I wish you would flirt with me, and me only,” are Winterbourne's words. From this we can see the selfishness in his motivations.

Daisy on the other hand is outspoken and reckless in her speech, “I don’t want you to come for your aunt … I want you to come for me.” This way of speaking and forward behavior is completely at odds with the society she wants to be a part of, and in the end (a very sad end), that's the truth of it.


Daisy Miller