“This seemed to throw some light upon the matter, for Winterbourne remembered to have heard that his pretty cousins in New York were “tremendous flirts.” If, therefore, Miss Daisy Miller exceeded the liberal margin allowed to these young ladies, it was probable that anything might be expected of her. Winterbourne was impatient to see her again, and he was vexed with himself that, by instinct, he should not appreciate her justly.” – Henry James’ “Daisy Miller“
This is the second time I’ve read Daisy Miller and i am, like Winterborne, still vexed. Is this story about Winterborne or about Daisy Miller. While it is for certain it is about the changing social stations of women in the current time period, I still question whose eyes we are seeing this from? Obviously, Winterborne is the narrator but the action is coming from Daisy. Are we to react to what he learns from her or from how she reacts to his presence?
It’s easy to read Daisy Miller from a feminist agenda, portray Winterborne as a character who couldn’t quite adjust to the changing nature of women in society. I don’t think that would be the best place to settle. I think Henry James respects women, which is evident in the majority of Winterborne’s descriptions of Daisy. Jame’s point is in Winterborne’s conversation with Giovanelli. Giovanelli tells Winterbourne that he took her to that place because he had no fear and she wanted to go. Winterbourne declared that was no reason for going – alluding to her health concerns, which suggests the following point: James is commenting on society and relationships in general. I feel he thinks people are too impulsive, too reckless. Maybe he believes a true relationship is when two people balance each other out.