Source: Daisy Miller: A Case (1) The International Setting and the Americans Abroad • Examine the conflicting realities of the continental setting and American-ness. Why does James situate the story in Switzerland and Italy—what can Switzerland and Italy signify in response to the central idea of travel and personal freedom for the main characters? How does Italy play a part in the central conflict of the novella? How can you understand Daisy as a product of European temptation caught in a conflicting reality and culture? • (2) Daisy and Young Sexuality • Daisy is a young woman in a rather restrictive time frame. Examine James’ construction of her as a metaphor. How does Daisy embody the innocence of young loved coupled with a strong message about desire? How can you read her sexuality as a reaction to the limitation placed upon her as a young person during this time period? • (3) Social Convention and Courtship • Despite Daisy’s rebellion, social convention, echoed throughout the text through how Daisy should be courting, reflects the realities of the time. How does James thwart traditional courtship of the time? How does Winterbourne function as a response to the traditions of courtship?—remember he still goes against the warnings of his aunt and until the end he remains enthralled by Daisy. • (4) Randolph and Subtext • The story opens with Winterbourne’s contact with young Randolph. Randolph likes male adult company, he doesn’t sleep, and he is addicted to candy. How can you read Randolph as a response to traditional masculinity of the Victorian era? What kind of subtext does Randolph embody and why does James put so much emphasis on a secondary character? • (5) Morality and the Victorians • The novella reveals a clash between Victorian morality and personal freedom. Examine the double structure of the narrative, the voice that intersects seeming freedom with the moral realities of the time. How are both Winterbourne and Daisy products of Victorian morality—what realities plague their journeys? How does the novel comment on the realities of Victorian morality?