full title · Daisy Miller: A Study
author · Henry James
type of work · Novella
genre · Comedy/tragedy of manners
language · English
time and place written · Spring of 1877, London
date of first publication · Summer 1877
publisher · The Cornhill magazine
narrator · Third-person limited
point of view · Winterbourne’s
tone · Light, easy-going, at times almost conversational; unsentimental; ironic
tense · Past
setting (time) · The 1870s; “three or four years” before the telling of the story
setting (place) · Vevey, Switzerland (Chapters 1 and 2); Rome, Italy (Chapters 3 and 4)
protagonist · Daisy and/or Winterbourne
major conflict · Daisy’s refusal to conform to the strict European laws of propriety that govern behavior, particularly relations between young unmarried people of the opposite sex, raises eyebrows among Rome’s high society.
rising action · Winterbourne meets Daisy and is charmed and intrigued but also mystified by her.
climax · Winterbourne finds Daisy alone with Giovanelli in the Coliseum and decides she is too unprincipled to continue troubling himself about.
falling action · Daisy realizes that she has lost Winterbourne’s respect, falls ill, sends a message to him through her mother, and dies.
themes · Americans abroad; the sadness and safety of the unlived life
motifs · Gossip; innocence
symbols · Daisy and Randolph; the Coliseum; Rome and Geneva
foreshadowing · Mrs. Costello’s attempt to warn Winterbourne against making “a great mistake” about Daisy (Chapter 2) looks forward to his too-late understanding of her at the end of the novel. The scene in which Winterbourne sees Daisy walking above the burial mounds at the Palace of the Caesars (Chapter 4), like the numerous references to “the Roman fever” (Chapters 3 and 4), prefigures her death.
Daisy and Winterbourne. How do these names symbolically represent these characters? In what ways are the names appropriate? Can you suggest alternate names for both characters that would also be evocative of their nature? Explain.
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