Daisy Miller

Through the Eyes of the Narrator: A Change in Perspective on Daisy Miller College

The Novel Daisy Miller by Henry James portrays a study of an outgoing American tourist, Daisy herself, and the downfall of her reputation through the eyes of the narrator. Daisy Miller’s characterization throughout the novel is based solely on the biased observations and thoughts of Winterbourne, a judgmental acquaintance who is jealous of her relationship with an Italian suitor. Although he is not the narrator, his thoughts of Daisy are the sole representation of her character and prove to be unreliable. Winterbourne’s jealousy and preconceptions about how women should conduct themselves blur the audience’s idea of Daisy’s intentions in the novel. Daisy is depicted as a wild and improper lady who flirts with any man she encounters, but in reality she is simply a young woman who wants to experience the world for herself. Throughout the novel Winterbourne’s unreliable characterization of Daisy Miller portrays her as a promiscuous American flirt, a misrepresentation that derives from the sexist gender roles of the 1800s.

When first encountering Daisy Miller, Winterbourne is taken aback by her outgoing personality, which is drastically different from the reserved and well-mannered ideal he has of women. Imminently after...

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