Daisy Miller Men Who Suffer Term Paper

Total Length: 1111 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 1

Page 1 of 4

Thus, what shocks him, like all men who suffer from a Madonna-Whore complex, is that a seeming innocent like Daisy could so easily express her fondness for what she terms as her "intimate" gentlemen friends. Indeed, Winterbourne's views on good girls and bad ones come through very clearly in the manner in which the narrator describes his frame of mind, when he is reflecting on Daisy's budding relationship with Giovanelli: "Nevertheless," Winterbourne said to himself, "A nice girl ought to know!" And then he came back to the dreadful question of whether this was in fact a nice girl. Would a nice girl - even allowing for her being a little American flirt - make a rendezvous with a presumably low-lived foreigner? (p. 50-51)

Of course, two other factors must be taken into consideration before conclusively determining whether Winterbourne did, in fact, possess a Madonna-Whore complex. The first of these is the social conventions of the time the story is situated in. While the second must inevitably be an analysis of Daisy's sexuality and behavior.

It is evident from the narrative that Daisy Miller is situated in an era, which was governed by very strict social mores on female sexuality and behavior with men. Winterbourne worries over whether he could be bold enough to speak to Daisy without a proper introduction. Eugenio disapproves of Daisy's trip to the castle with Winterbourne as "not proper." and, finally, Mrs. Walker tries to persuade Daisy to get into her carriage to prevent people from commenting on her being alone with Giovanelli in a public area. Thus, Winterbourne's reactions to Daisy's unconventional behavior could well be justified by his being merely a product of his times.
However, the prevalent social norms do not explain Winterbourne's continued pursuit of Daisy. for, if Winterbourne was driven purely by social conventions, he could have either ignored her, or outright treated her as a whore. but, he chooses to do neither. Therefore, it can be concluded that Winterbourne's behavior is more reflective of his own Madonna-Whore attitude towards women.

Similarly, Winterbourne's ambivalence towards Daisy could be seen as justified if he had evidence that her seeming promiscuousness was not just implied, but a concrete fact. but, there is no such evidence - only rumors and expressed outrage that such a young girl could violate all accepted standards of behavior. In fact, if anything, there is evidence that Daisy Miller's only fault lay in wanting to be true to her self (p. 55). She also clearly questions society's hypocrisy. Indeed, her response to Winterbourne's suggestion that, people wouldn't understand a young, unmarried woman flirting with a gentleman like Giovanelli, is very revealing: "I thought they understood nothing else.... It seems to me much more proper in young unmarried than in old married ones." (p. 62).

As it turns out, Giovanelli himself confirms Daisy's innocence after her death. More important, Winterbourne himself confesses that he had done her an injustice, and that she would have appreciated his esteem (p. 81). but, perhaps, Daisy in her superior wisdom knew all along that she would never get it from a queer mixture (p. 35) of a man who could not make up his mind as to whether she was a Madonna or a whore.

Works Cited

James, H. Daisy Miller and Other Stories.….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?