Essay about Innocence in Daisy Miller

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James' manipulation of appearances in Daisy Miller as well as other character's notions of these appearances provides us with a novella of enigmatic and fascinating characters. Daisy, the most complicated of these ambiguities, is as mysterious as she is flirtatious. James gives her a carefully constructed enigmatic quality that leaves the reader wondering what her motivations were and who she truly was. He structures the novella in such a way as to stress the insights that the supporting characters provide into Daisy's character, weather accurate or erroneous. Despite their questionable reliability, they allow James to make commentary on both European and American cultures and social class. In Daisy Miller the protagonist, Daisy,…show more content…
Walker goes a step further than merely gossiping about Daisy's scandalous meetings with men by trying to stop one such episode. On this particular day Daisy was walking around a very crowded corner of Rome with both Giovanelli and Winterbourne. Mrs. Walker pleads with Daisy to get into the carriage with her but Daisy laughs her off saying "If this is improper, Mrs. Walker... than I am all improper, and you must give me up" (93)! James attempts to explain this lack of inhibition by constructing for her a simplistic vernacular and almost oblivious approach to life that would prove her innocence. Without knowledge, any faux pas are assumed inexperience, not immorality. This inexperience with more cultured society is also apparent in her vernacular. Daisy says things like "ever so" (56) that give her away as an "uncultivated person" (121). Her name, and the fact that it is her chosen, not given one, is also very significant. Miller suggests her family's humble history and Daisy, a "common flower...is also simple and unpretentious. The fact that it opens up in the sun also suggests [Daisy's] life-loving qualities" (121). That she chose this name also supports a view that Daisy had no qualms about living the way she does as a simple, life-loving creature. James also provides some subtle symbolism to support once again Daisy's innocence. In one scene, Daisy sits alone with Giovanelli and a painting of "Innocence X by Velazquez" (105) hangs above them to remind the
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