31 December 2008

24. Daisy Miller by Henry James

Another book for the Hawthorne-James class.

Young Daisy Miller is an American living in Europe and she is not quite behaving herself abroad. In fact, her behavior is quite scandalous. In one scene she goes for an unchaperoned walk on a busy street with a man who is not her husband!

How does one maintain individuality amid such rules and customs and traditions? Is it possible?

And again we have the Jamesian observer who is content to sit and watch, to experiment without judging. An observer stuck wanting to join the revolution yet held back by rules, customs, and the expectations of the defenders of the status quo. Cowardice? Prudence?

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