Daisy Miller

Geneva Symbol Icon

Although Winterbourne, like Daisy, is American, he has lived so long in Geneva that this city serves as his point of reference for evaluating the behavior of Daisy and others. Geneva is referred to as “Calvinist,” suggesting a kind of rigorous, even severe, Protestant work ethic and buttoned-up attitude. Girls in Geneva, we learn, are reserved, polite, and always proper. Geneva in the novella comes to stand in for European attitudes to women’s behavior in general, attitudes espoused in particular by Mrs. Walker, who has lived in Geneva along with Winterbourne—and attitudes that contrast sharply with the “American” way of life, or at least with Daisy’s own actions. When Winterbourne wonders if he and Mrs. Walker have lived too long in Geneva, in fact, his doubts are another way of wondering whether his own attitudes and prejudices have come to cloud his judgment, when they may simply stem from a particular place’s customs.

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Geneva Symbol Timeline in Daisy Miller

The timeline below shows where the symbol Geneva 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
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
...sitting in the Trois Couronnes garden looking idly around him. He has come here from Geneva, where he had been living. He came to see his aunt, but the aunt now... (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
The young man is usually said to be “studying” in Geneva, but rumors abound that a foreign lady, older than himself, is the true source of... (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
Female Independence Theme Icon
...to a young unmarried lady alone here, in Vevay, though this would be forbidden in Geneva except under special circumstances. But the girl largely ignores him, bending down and asking Randolph... (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
...wonders whether she is really uncouth in her behavior or if he’s just lived in Geneva too long and can’t remember what Americans are like. Still, he can’t really believe that... (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
Female Independence Theme Icon
...says he’s rather go to the castle with Daisy. Winterbourne knows that a girl in Geneva would have risen, blushing, at this suggestion—he’s been bold—but Daisy doesn’t seem offended. Instead she... (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
...and Europe, but they don’t often come to see her. Winterbourne had “picked up” in Geneva the idea that he should be attentive to his elder relatives, and she’s pleased to... (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
Female Independence Theme Icon
...this, but he says he has other “occupations,” engagements that will force him back to Geneva the next day. Daisy cries that he is horrid, and she rebukes him continuously for... (full context)
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
Female Independence Theme Icon
...She begins to hurl insults on the woman she imagines Winterbourne is running back to Geneva to see. Winterbourne denies that this woman exists and can’t imagine how Daisy might have... (full context)
Part 2: Rome
European and American Character Theme Icon
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
Female Independence Theme Icon
...goes to call on a friend, an American lady who used to spend winters in Geneva. After ten minutes, however, the lady’s servant announces the arrival of Mrs. Miller, with Randolph... (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
...Winterbourne pauses and then says that she and he himself have lived too long in Geneva. (full context)
European and American Character Theme Icon
Observing vs. Living Theme Icon
Judgment, Knowledge, and Knowability Theme Icon
Innocence Theme Icon
...mistake. He’s lived abroad too long, he says. Yet Winterbourne goes back to live in Geneva, where some say he is studying, and others that he is involved with a foreign... (full context)