January 23, 2018
Reading Response One
“I haven’t the least idea what such young ladies expect a man to do. But I really think that you had better not meddle with little American girls that are uncultivated, as you call them. You have lived too long out of the country. You will be sure to make some great mistake. You are too innocent.”
Mrs. Costello says these words to Winterbourne when they discuss Daisy in Chapter 2. Winterbourne has promised too much in saying he would introduce Daisy Miller to his aunt. The aunt, Mrs. Costello, is very aristocratic and she does not approve of the Millers. She cannot accept them because they are so common. She has heard particularly unfavorable things about Daisy. Winterbourne tries to explain that Daisy is quite innocent but has not yet learned all the educated ways of the world. As proof of his own favorable opinion of Daisy, Winterbourne volunteers then plans to take Daisy to the Chateau de Chillon. This information only confirms Mrs. Costello’s opinion of Daisy as “a dreadful girl.” During this trip, he wonders if she is less “common” than he had initially supposed, or if he is simply getting used to her vulgarity. The author, Henry James, uses the aunt to help readers realize that some of Daisy's actions are improper or in bad taste (according to European society very similar to Mrs. Costello). The way the aunt talks in this quote gives us an idea of how the upper-class frown upon Daisy’s ‘American side’. Mrs. Costello saying, “…little American girls that are uncultivated, as you call them.”, seems judgmental of her. She could have just stated her opinion and left out “as you call them” Thus letting readers get an idea and...