Daisy Miller's Ultimate Fall.
Henry James novel, Daisy Miller: A Study, reveals a tension between Europe and America. The story was written in the late nineteenth century when American industry was flourishing and when Americans were becoming wealthier. With this new money came a desire to look successful and aristocratic. Europe provided a model of wealth and power to the Americans. For this reason, the luxurious foreign goods, like women's dresses, jewelry, and musical instruments, became popular in American cities during this era. With new money available and interest in Europe at a peak, this era also witnessed a boom in American tourism in Europe. James story depicts Daisy Miller and her family's travel to Europe and their confrontation with Europe's old customs and traditions. Daisy Miller's character is unlike many of the Americans' living there. She is a strong-minded young woman who simply does not accept the old ideas. Daisy's flirtatious, witty, and independent character may have played a role in her tragic ending. By being at the wrong place, she is shunned by society and dies of the Roman fever, malaria. Consequently, her liberal social interaction leads to her ultimate fall in Europe's conservative society.
During the first few pages of the story, Daisy is exposed as a "pretty American flirt- (286). She is young, unsophisticated, chatty, and brags about all the society, especially "a great deal of gentlemen's society- that she had in New York (285). Furthermore, she enjoys teasing and getting reactions out of people just for the sake of it. For example, the second time she and Winterbourne meet, late one evening in the garden, she demands, "take me out on a boat- (294). Of course, her mother and the courier protest while Daisy laughs. When Winterbourne declares that he will make a fuss if Daisy does not go, she declares, "That's all I want - a little fuss!- (295).