Daisy Miller


Henry James

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Eleven O’Clock Symbol Analysis

Eleven O’Clock Symbol Icon

Eleven o’clock (at night) is something like a witching hour in the novella. We are told that it is eleven o’clock at three different moments: when Eugenio emerges from the darkness to meet Daisy, Mrs. Miller, and Winterbourne at Vevay; when Daisy arrives with Mr. Giovanelli to Mrs. Walker’s party; and when Winterbourne encounters Daisy and Mr. Giovanelli at the Coliseum. At each of these moments, Daisy is doing or threatening to do something unexpected, and usually disapproved of. In the first and the last case, she should not be out at this hour at all, especially if unaccompanied. In the case of Mrs. Walker’s party, too, eleven o’clock is too late—especially for Daisy’s arrival, since she has preferred to send her mother ahead and stay behind playing the piano with Mr. Giovanelli. This hour of the evening symbolizes Daisy’s own independent spirit and self-created schedule, one that she is loath to have anyone interrupt or divert. As Winterbourne thinks to himself, the only expectation he can have about Daisy is that she will always be unexpected—the regularity of her appearance at this odd hour only underlines this observation.

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Eleven O’Clock Symbol Timeline in Daisy Miller

The timeline below shows where the symbol Eleven O’Clock appears in Daisy Miller. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Les Trois Couronnes
European and American Character Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
Female Independence Theme Icon
...time it is, and Eugenio, who has just appeared out of the darkness, says it’s eleven o’clock . Daisy cries to him that Winterbourne is taking her out in a boat. Mrs.... (full context)
Part 2: Rome
European and American Character Theme Icon
Female Independence Theme Icon
Daisy doesn’t arrive until eleven o’clock , looking lovely, smiling and chattering next to Mr. Giovanelli. She goes straight to Mrs.... (full context)
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
...the Forum in the moonlight, with the moon slightly concealed by the clouds. It is eleven o’clock when Winterbourne reaches the Coliseum. He loves picturesque scenes and decides to peek inside. He... (full context)