In "Daisy Miller", what is gained by having Daisy die at the end of the story?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Henry James' novel "Daisy Miller" is a commentary on society in general and on women in particular.  Daisy is a victim of her society.  She is trapped.  Being held back by the standards imposed on women, she is not able to grow intellectually.  In traveling abroad, she is forced to adhere to social standards that are even more strict than what she experiences at home.  Men are attracted to her because of her outgoing nature - however, it is her outgoing nature that makes her the victim of gossip and disapproval, making her unsuitable for men.  In order to stay critical of a society that so represses women, James could not allow Daisy to succeed in the end.  Her death represents to the full extent her victimization.

bloomtwice | Student

Daisy miller's death is inevitable from the viewpoint of an author. Daisy Miller an enigma of the early 20th century simply could not exist in the confines of European high society. Flirtatious, wild, outgoing american women as she is cannot even comprehend the perversion her existence is in europe. Ironically her innocence is attacked(by gossip) and not europeans but euro-americans who dictate the ways of europe give highlight to her unbelonging in europe. Such a phenomena from the cultural perspective of Henry Jame's time simply cannot exist. The bad girl simply doesn't have a place in the world. One would ask why can't she go back to america and winterbourne and her would live their seperate lives? Closure is the answer. From a writer's perspective this short story cannot just end on a limb. Death or the marriage of Daisy and Winterbourne would be the only conclusion to this love story and death was more appropriate.