ENGL 275 Final

ENGL 275 Final

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: through his effort to comprehend her and the ways in which she defies comprehension, the perspective of the narrator emphasizes the ambiguity Daisy represents. Her encounters with the “other” while in Italy reveal her naivety through her confrontation of differing values. Daisy’s assertive opinion, coupled with her unabashed innocence, prove to be problematic when she claims her agency in public by challenging social conventions. She surfaces the question of conformity versus individuality while simultaneously asserting her Americanness, which is particularly seen in her interactions with Mrs. Walker and Winterbourne. When Daisy protests Mrs. Walker’s scorn of her public stroll in Rome with her two gentlemen suitors, Mrs. Walker asserts her European notions of proper behavior: “’It may be fascinating, dear child, but it’s not the social custom here,’ urged the lady of the Victoria, leaning forward in this vehicle with her hands devoutly clasped” (53). Later, when Winterbourne makes a similar criticism, Daisy retorts, “I don’t see why I should change my habits for such stupids,” those “stupids” being Europeans (James 61). The naivety of Daisy’s comments emphasize the disconnect between her national American norms in contrast with the social customs of Europe. Daisy asserts her opinion of Europe, explaining, “The only thing I don’t like…is the society. There ain’t any society—or if there is I don’t know where it keeps itself” (14). The reason Daisy cannot J e s t e r | 3 find society is because she is keeping herself distant from it, a mistake many travelers make when trying to participate in cross ­cultural exchange. James’s short story can be viewed through a variety of lenses ranging from feminism to socioeconomic criticism, but regardless of whether one focuses on gender standards or class issues, Daisy’s story is a prime example of the friction between national differences—and the consequences of being unable to reconcile these differences. 2. Dispatches from Europe to the New York Tribune, 1846 ­1850 – Margaret Fuller “Yet I find that it is out of the question to know Italy; to say anything of her that is full and sweet, so as to convey any idea of her spirit, without long residence, and residence in the districts untouched by the scorch and dust of foreign invasion…and without an intimacy of feeling, an abandonment of the spirit of the place, impossible to most Americans, they retain too much of their English blood; and the traveling English, as a tribe, seem to me the most unseeing of all possible animals.” (Fuller, 187) Margaret Fuller, American journalist and...
View Full Document

This document was uploaded on 03/19/2014 for the course ENGL 275 at Georgetown.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online