Daisy Miller

Daisy Miller as the subject of a study, and the object of a narrative

“Daisy Miller: A Study” by Henry James, a story about an American girl in Europe named Daisy Miller, is told by an unknown narrator who only has access to the main character Winterbourne’s thoughts. The story is framed around Daisy Miller and her “abnormal behavior” as the subject of Winterbourne’s study. The third person limited omniscient narration of the story and the way Daisy Miller is portrayed in Winterbourne’s thoughts makes her character not only the subject of Winterbourne’s study in the story, but also an object in the overall narrative.

In the story, Winterbourne makes a hobby of studying women. Towards the beginning of the narrative, it is said that he went to Geneva to “study” and implied that he was also there to be with an older foreign lady (1502). When Winterbourne first meets Daisy Miller, he picks up numerous details about her and immediately tries to analyze her:

If she looked another way when he spoke to her, and seemed not particularly to hear him, this was simply her habit, her manner . . . He had a great relish for feminine beauty; he was addicted to observing and analyzing it; and as regards this young lady’s face he made several observations. It was not at all insipid, but it was not exactly...

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