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Key Facts

Key Facts

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.

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