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Daisy Miller Essay

Decent Essays
In the novella “Daisy Miller” by Henry James, women are viewed as the inferior and weaker gender, as they are expected to abide by all of society's’ laws while at the same time being constantly diminished as human beings. When Winterbourne and Daisy first meet, Daisy is looking for her little brother Randolph, who Winterbourne was previously having a conversation with. Daisy and Winterbourne have a conversation about Randolph’s education, all the while, Winterbourne’s eyes are focused on Daisy. Winterbourne tunes Daisy out while his eyes wander to her “extremely pretty hands, ornamented with very brilliant rings, folded in her lap...She was very quiet, she sat in a charming, tranquil attitude, but her lips and eyes were constantly moving” (8).…show more content…
Winterbourne embodies the societal expectations of women, as he realizes that Daisy is smart, but he ignores her intelligence for her looks, as he focuses not on her words, but on her rings and hands folded together in her lap. Later in the same section, Winterbourne notices that she is still talking, as her lips and eyes are moving, but notes that she is silent, conveying the struggle of women in the time period to be heard. Women of this time period were supposed to be “good girls”, where they are seen but not heard. A good girl is one who accepts her role in the patriarchy, and is rewarded for her goodness by being wed. Winterbourne’s aunt, Mrs. Costello, believes that Daisy is not a good girl, and tells Winterbourne to be careful around Daisy, as she has agreed to go to the Château de Chillon with him. It was not like a respectable woman to go to a strange place with a man she had just met, so Mrs. Costello doesn’t want either of them to tarnish their reputations. Winterbourne then thinks of America and his family there, and remembers how his “...pretty cousins in New York were ‘tremendous flirts’. If, therefore,
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