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Daisy Miller Teaching Unit
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- As the title suggests, the story is about Daisy Miller and it is narrated by an omniscient narrator. Much of what we know about Daisy we learn from Frederick Winterbourne, which is why he is called “the central intelligence” by some critics. Identify what Frederick thinks or suspects about Daisy as the novel opens, progresses, and concludes. Be sure to indicate how his bias might influence his perceptions.
- This story presents a clash of cultures and values. Consider what Daisy, Randolph, and Mrs. Miller represent as Americans from New York, and what Winterbourne, Mrs. Costello, and Mrs. Walker represent as Europeanized Americans. Over what specifics do these cultures clash?
- Mrs. Costello does not believe that her American granddaughters could possible resemble the “uncultivated” Daisy Miller; however, Frederick hears that the granddaughters are “tremendous flirts.” (Pg. 15) How and why might the granddaughters deceive Mrs. Costello?
- When Frederick discovers Daisy and Giovanelli in the Coliseum, Daisy says “He [Frederick] looks at us as one of the old lions or tigers may have looked at the Christian martyrs!” (Pg. 54) Both Frederick and Giovanelli also use the word “innocent” to describe daisy. If James portrays Daisy as an innocent martyr, who kills her and for what belief does she die?
- Henry James uses the conflict of appearance versus reality to explain human behavior and create ambiguity. For this type of tale, how does ambiguity make the narrative seem more psychologically realistic? In your explanation, cite those incidents in the tale that support your generalizations.
- Mr. Giovanelli plays a central role in this tale. How do Daisy, Mrs. Miller, Winterbourne, and other characters perceive Giovanelli? How do you suppose he perceives himself?
- Write a half-page character analysis for each of the following: Winterbourne, Daisy, and Mrs. Costello.
About this Document
A teaching unit and individual learning packet from Prestwick House. Includes the following: comprehensive chapter-by-chapter study guides for students; questions suitable for essay topics or discussion; vocabulary lists; multiple-choice and essay test with answer key; introductory material from Prestwick House to familiarize both students and teachers with the work.