A chief social issue in Henry James’ novella Daisy Miller is the social interaction between young men and women. Daisy violates European social convention by speaking to men who have not been introduced properly. In fact, Daisy is judged for forming friendships with young men who have not had a formal introduction via her mother or her other established social acquaintances.
Winterbourne also questions this about Daisy. Although Winterbourne appears to be European in many ways, he is an American. Like the author himself, Winterbourne was born in America but taken to Europe to be educated there as a young boy. He is stiffer than Daisy, whose breezy friendliness many of the European characters disapprove of. Daisy is warm and friendly.
Viewing Daisy through a modern lens, her tendency to be friendly and to disregard class distinctions that come into play so vividly in European society might seem progressive, but characters like Winterbourne who believe in adhering to social convention finds...
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