Instructor: Ms. Briese
9 February 2010
Daisy Miller: innocence and expatriate American society’s dissatisfaction
“Daisy Miller: A Study” is a famous novel written by Henry James, an “…American-
born author of 20 novels and more than 100 stories, plays, and pieces of literary
James is a well-known author born in America, and writes 20 novels and
more than 100 stories, plays, and literary criticisms.
Most of James’s readers are women, and
according to one critic, “‘…it is on the feminine mind that the linguistic art of Mr. James, his
fearful symmetry, casts its spell’”(O’Donnel 2).
Thus meaning that James’s writing caters more
towards the works of the female mind.
James, born in New York City in 1843, is the second
child in a large and wealthy family.
James spends part of his childhood in London, Geneva, and
Paris before his family settles down in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Later, James drops out of
Harvard Law School to write
(North 2), and is now considered one of the greatest American
novelists of the 19
Throughout the novel,
Daisy Miller: A Study,
Miller was perceived
by the expatriate Americans as a young woman guilty of flirtatious behavior. Since the expatriate
American society strongly disapproved of Miller’s flirtatious ways, Henry James in
Miller: A Study
questions Miller’s loss of sexual innocence in the novel.
At the end of the novel, critics discerned Daisy Miller as sexually innocent for several
reasons. One reason for the belief of Miller’s sexual innocence was the conversation Frederick
Winterbourne had with Giovanelli. After Miller died, Giovanelli said to Winterbourne “‘She was
the most beautiful young lady I ever saw, and the most amiable.’ And then he added in a
moment, ‘And she was the most innocent.’ Winterbourne looked at him, and presently repeated