An Analysis of Class, Ethnicity and Gender in Henry James’ Novella “Daisy Miller”


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Essay #: 069586
Total text length is 13,249 characters (approximately 9.1 pages).

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The beginning:
An Analysis of Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in Henry James’s Novella Daisy Miller
Henry James’s novella, Daisy Miller, was written near the end of the nineteenth century in the United States. The story follows the lives of an American man named Frederick Winterbourne, Daisy Miller, and her family in Switzerland and Italy over the course of a few months, while all are traveling through Europe for studying and pleasure. At its core, the story of Daisy Miller is one that centers around the issue of class, especially class perceived through late-nineteenth century American sensibilities within a European context. While class in terms of socio-economic status and the perceived propriety of certain behaviors provides the grand framework for the...
The end: of impropriety. The judges of who ranks where and why in this social system are those with the most power; in the case of Daisy Miller, these judgments rest with the white, upper class, American women who dare not accept Daisy Miller and her family into their fold. This investigation into the ways in which class, ethnicity, and gender were formulated in James’s novella, as well as in late-nineteenth century culture more generally, could be further expanded with regard to the author’s own views on these subjects, as well as how other factors, including geographical location (Europe vs. the U.S.), language, education, and family background have figured in to the construction of hierarchies of social power that can be seen in Daisy Miller.