Daisy Miller


Henry James

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Daisy Miller: Style 1 key example

Explanation and Analysis:

James's style comprises an appealing combination of eloquence and wit. At several points in the novella, he offers readers expressive, stirring descriptions. This is especially the case when the narrator develops Vevay in the exposition or specific sites in Rome in the second part.

Alongside James's flair for eloquence, the reader finds a great deal of wit. James happens to have many critiques to level, both at American society and at European society. As an American who spent significant time in Europe, James had a unique perspective on American innocence and European cultivation. By placing Americans in a European context, he gives readers a close look at both, highlighting their various faults by putting them on full display.

Of course, there is something liberating to Daisy's oblivious behavior—and yet, there is something provincial to it, as well. James's writing style leaves the reader feeling simultaneously impressed and embarrassed to witness Daisy's social blunders, since these blunders can feel either refreshing or cringeworthy. Ultimately, while James may use the novella to lightly mock American innocence and impropriety, he also skewers the stiff American expatriates' obsession with assimilating to and enforcing European conventions.