Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daisy Miller

I have to admit, I enjoyed this one more than our last few readings. Maybe it was because it was short and simple, couldn't say for sure. Either way, there were definitely some interesting topics of note within it.

What I found most interesting, particularly after we discussed it a bit in class on Tuesday, was the idea of the Miller family representing the image of America. This is interesting to me because they all seem to come off to me as spoiled, naive, and generally disconnected with the rest of the world. Honestly, I don't see this too far from the truth, especially from a historical perspective.

What I find most fascinating, especially in the light of my own crisis of faith in our education system, is the emphasis on getting a teacher for the boy Randolph. I find this interesting because education, from an old European standpoint, is a mark of upper class. This seems to illustrate something in the book. I don't think the term flirt is just referring to Daisy talking so casually with men. It also reflects the attitude of the Millers and how they flirt at being upper class. They just say the words that they want to improve themselves, but it seems little effort is actually made towards getting accepted by the aristocracy of the area.

Finally, this brings me to Daisy's death. In essence, I feel the author's point they wanted to make in this book, well one of them anyway, is that there are consequences for allowing yourself to totally disconnect yourself from where you are, which seems to be what Daisy does. In the end, it isn't any of the men she dates or breaking some law she didn't take seriously that defeats her, it's a simple fever that anyone who made any attempt to understand the area would have easily avoided. Again, this seems to be the consequence of merely "flirting" with European culture, as opposed to really respecting it.

1 comment:

  1. That's an interesting point about "flirting" with a new culture, Steve. They don't seem to understand the effort required even though Mrs. Walker and Winterbourne try to teach them, any more than Winterbourne can learn how to flirt like an American.