“Daisy Miller” by Henry James

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph W. EmersonDaisyMiller

This is the statement even Henry James is trying to make through this story. Daisy Miller, a pretty American girl, quite unconventional in her manners, is trying to lead her life her way in Europe but finally the society through Mr Winterbourne succeeds in breaking her. Mr Winterbourne is an insecure person who can’t form his own opinion and depends on the society to shape it for him. In the first meeting he is moved by Daisy’s fresh and innocent character and pretty looks but when his aunt pronounces her as “common” and vulgar” and the Roman society ostracizes her, he sides with them.

This book was among the ones discussed by Nafisi in “Reading Lolita in Tehran”! The story although is written by an American author and is about Americans but since all of them except Daisy Miller have been in Europe for some time their ideas are shaped by European sensibilities and hence it doesn’t feel too different from the European classics!! A hard-hitting short story that leaves you thinking on how the society destroyed a young lively girl whose only guilt was that she endorsed life too completely and after her demise everyone return to their normal lives with no pang of guilt.


A dreamer. An intellectual, spoiled by the world of literature trying to find sanity through traveling and expression through Visual Art and writing! Hope you like my expressions on this blog!!

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Posted in Book Review
4 comments on ““Daisy Miller” by Henry James
  1. joydeep22 says:

    i liked the crisp read. i would prefer to have a synopsis of the story or a few lines on the plot.

  2. prasanna40 says:

    I too got a taste of this novel through Nafisi. Enjoyed Portrait of a Lady a lot and Wings of the Dove. James always gets his lovely young women into trouble… but he has such lovely lines.

    • Richa Kedia says:

      Thanks to Nafisi, Daisy Miller is the first book of Henry James that i have read but didnt enjoy it too much. It belongs to the same genre of classic authors like Jane Austen where the stories were just focussed on pompous European society and relationships (with women centric-focus). I guess I had read a lot of those as a child in school and cant appreciate this genre of books now!

  3. […] “Daisy Miller” by Henry James (randommuzings.wordpress.com) […]

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