Daisy Miller by Henry James: An Analysis

daisymiller2 A man named Winterbourne meets a flirtatious young American woman from a Nouveau Riche family. He begins falling for her but the upper class society they live in rejects her.

Society has all sorts of rules that are forced on everyone. Some, or many of them, are arbitrary and foolish. Those who don’t follow the status quo are often punished for doing so in some way. In this story, most of the characters are wealthy American expatriates staying in Europe and they certainly go by a strict set of social rules.

Which leads to Daisy Miller, the title character, who’s part of the upper class. But she’s Nouveau Riche (“new money”) and they were generally looked down upon. Daisy is also looked down at because she’s flirtatious among other things.

The main character, Winterbourne grows fond of Daisy but he is unable to pursue a serious relationship with her. This is because his aunt, Mrs. Costello (whose fortune he wants to inherit), doesn’t approve of the girl. Here is what she has to say about Daisy and her family: “ ‘They are very common’ Mrs. Costello declared. ‘They are the sort of Americans that one does one’s duty by not – not accepting’.”

However, there’s a more significant moment in the text that gets Daisy labeled improper – she walks in public with two men! This happens when she goes to Rome where she meets, Mrs. Walker, a fellow expatriate. At first, this woman is fairly kind to Daisy but then there’s the moment with the two men.

It’s important to understand that Daisy isn’t sexually promiscuous – she’s just flirty and naive. When the girl wants to walk somewhere with both Winterbourne and a young Italian man named Giovanelli, Mrs Walker desperately pleads for Daisy to come with her instead. “Should you prefer being thought a very reckless girl?” the woman asks at one point.

But Daisy doesn’t listen. Unlike the others, she believes the societal rules to be frivolous. “Daisy gave a violent laugh. ‘I never heard anything so stiff!’ she pursued, “then I am all improper, and you must give me up. Goodbye; I hope you’ll have a lovely ride!’ ”

This is a fascinating moment of rebellion. Daisy, a young girl, boldly challenges societal norms. Her older counterparts in the story remain stuck in their ways. They can’t understand someone like Daisy because, unlike her, they can’t comprehend any kind of nonconformity. The reason for this is that they have always done what their society expects without question.

Why? Because they are afraid of the consequences. An example is, Winterbourne being afraid of not receiving his aunt’s money.

Apart of Daisy’s rebellion, however, comes largely from her naivety. It’s not that she doesn’t fear the consequences, it’s more so that she doesn’t fully understand them.

Rebelling always comes with a cost and Daisy soon finds this out. She gets “cut” at Mrs. Walker’s party. “Cut” is an upper class tradition where women would turn their back on another woman and ignore her. This was usually punishment for “improper” behavior. It was, of course, humiliating and Daisy experiences this firsthand: “When Daisy came to take leave of Mrs. Walker, this lady conscientiously repaired the weakness of which she had been guilty at the moment of the young girl’s arrival. She turned her back straight upon Miss Miller and left her to depart with what grace she might. Winterbourne was standing near the door; he saw it all. Daisy turned very pale and looked at her mother…”

This is a very powerful scene. It’s the perfect example of social shaming. Many people stay in line with the status quo because they fear this sort of humiliation. Basically, a large number of people crave and need acceptance.

Another important factor of this part of the story is that it shows how sometimes women will police the behavior of their fellow women. This is seen even in modern days. So the text is addressing a longstanding social issue.

The way women are shamed is by being thought of as a whore, essentially. Which is pretty much what the other characters calling Daisy improper means in this story. Indeed, when Winterbourne sees Daisy sitting with Giovanelli he tries to write her off by labeling her that: “She was a young lady whom a gentleman need no longer be at pains to respect.” However, Winterbourne probably doesn’t mean this since he actually loves Daisy.

But the thing about Winterbourne is that he’s “stiff”. He follows what society expects of a gentleman and this gets in the way of him loving Daisy.

They could have complimented each other. But Daisy dies due to her immaturity – she refuses to take some malaria preventing pills in order to spite Winterbourne. He, on the other hand, ends up getting absorbed into the “acceptable” society. Perhaps, their qualities would have worked well together and they could help each other with their flaws – Daisy’s immaturity and his stiffness.

But in the end, Winterbourne chooses to conform. The end of the story states he is studying and “interested in a very clever foreign lady.” This indicates he is completely doing what is expected of him. The one, who could have took him away from the stiff upper class society, had died.

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The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg by Mark Twain: An Analysis

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Hadleyburg thinks it’s an incorruptible town. Well, a stranger will put that to the test.

So how does the stranger corrupt Hadleyburg? Well with the one thing that can corrupt almost anyone – money. Gold coins, to be specific. He sends a sack of them and claims they are meant for the person who helped him during his last trip to the town. Well everyone wants to get their hands on the sack of gold. However, part of the stranger’s test is to have them guess a certain remark written within the sack. The whole town eventually tries doing so, proving they aren’t so incorruptible after all.

The stranger wants revenge on Hadleyburg for offending him during his visit. The citizens are shocked to find out the full remark is: “You are far from being a bad man – go and reform – or mark my works – some day for your sins you will die and go to hell or Hadleyburg – TRY AND MAKE IT THE FORMER.”

He’s only doing this because Hadleyburg is only incorruptible because it has never been tested. The stranger writes, “Why, you simple creatures, the weakest of all weak things is a virtue which has not been tested in the fire.”

Which leads to one of the primary point of Twain’s story: Virtue isn’t true virtue unless its been tested. Hadleyburg was never incorruptible in the first place simply because it’s impossible – all human beings are corruptible. They can be tempted, even the seemingly upstanding ones: “My idea was to make liars and thieves of nearly half a hundred smirchless men and women who had never in their lives uttered a lie or stolen a penny.” And he can accomplish this because many will do the wrong thing if they think they can get away with it.

Humans wish they could be pure and incorruptible. And they do attempt to reach this ideal. This can be seen with the countless small towns and their citizens that try to uphold a facade of morals and family values. Twain’s story basically exposes the idea of the perfect small town for the fraud that it is.

Once one sees past the mask, one can find the gossip, manipulation and falsehood among these supposedly upstanding communities.

Even before the stranger came there’s some signs that Hadleyburg already had plenty examples of corruption. This is seen when it’s revealed upright Mr. Richards had stopped a man (Goodson) from marrying his lover because she had African American ancestry. He thinks he’s doing something good of course: “he thus saved Goodson from marrying the tainted girl.” This exposes Hadleyburg for having the typical human flaws their fellow man does. They judge, shame and dislike outsiders.

And as the story reveals Hadleyburg really angered this stranger: “I passed through your town at a certain time, and received and offense which I had not earned. Any other man would have been content to kill one or two of you and call it square, but to me that would have been a trivial revenge and inadequate: for the dead do not suffer.” Clearly there was already a certain amount of corruption for them to offend this stranger so terribly.

By the end Hadleyburg knows it’s flawed and its town seal goes from: “Lead us not into temptation” to “Lead us into temptation.” And they were lead into temptation and each of the citizens probably will again. They are human, after all.

Frightfully Tall Ghouls Frankie Stein: Monster High Doll Review

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So here we have a taller version of one of the more popular Monster High characters, Frankie Stein.

I am happy with the doll and preferred this over the regular-sized Frankie.

Being so tall makes her stand out a lot and gives her proper recognition.

As for the doll itself. Almost everything is good appearance wise. Although I’ve never really cared for Frankie’s dress.

She’s very flexible and easy to pose.

There was a disadvantage to having the doll so tall: she didn’t fit on my bookshelf when standing straight up. However, that’s my own flaw not the doll’s!

The only other problem I had with the doll is that I would have liked her to have more of a smile on her face.

But other than that, this is the perfect Frankie Stein for me.

4.5/5

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Regret by Kate Chopin (Short Story Analysis)

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Regret is about a woman named Mamzelle Aurelie, she stands out among other women of her time since she’s unmarried, childless and owns her own farm. She is seemingly happy with her arrangement but once she looks after a neighbor’s children she has a moment of regret.

Marriage and children. Something society expects everyone to do and have. And, for women, these two factors nearly define their entire existence. Well Kate Chopin often looks into this issue with her writing.

And in “Regret” the reader is introduced to the quintessential independent woman, Mamzelle Aurelie. Unlike the women of her time she doesn’t obsess over marriage: “Mamzelle Aurelie had never thought of marrying. She had never been in love. At the age of twenty she had received a proposal, which she had promptly declined, and at the age of fifty she had not yet lived to regret it.”

Women often had to receive their identity through marriage and children. But Mamzelle, on the other hand, finds it through other things such as: “the fowls, the few cows, a couple of mules, her gun (with which she shot chicken-hawks), and her religion.”

However, no matter how independent someone is there’s perhaps a deep desire for some kind of close companionship and family. This desire gets triggered when Mamzelle looks after a neighbor’s children. They’re a nuisance at first but then: “It took her some days to become accustomed to the laughing, the crying, the chattering that echoed through the house and around it all day.”

Yes, she grows to like having children around and is saddened when they leave.

So what is the text saying? That Mamzelle’s independence is fake and just like most women supposedly do she desires to have little children of her own?

No, I doubt that is the point of the story. Despite her independence, Mamzelle is still human. And human beings feel loneliness. Yes, the main character is having a moment of regret but she knows she must live with her decisions she had made in in life.

Which is why she is described as “crying like a man”. Men are often expected to face responsibility and deal with their problems on their own. Since Aurelie has took on a “masculine” role she must do this as well.

The end sentence of the story states: “she did not notice Ponto licking her hand.” Ponto, is her dog and represents a piece of the farm. Her not noticing the dog could mean that, for a woman, almost nothing can replace the joy of children.

However, I don’t think this is the case. The hand lick is simply a reminder that Mamzelle must go back to responsibilities (the farm) as a man would be expected to do. The moment of regret will pass, and as expected of the men, she must get back to work.

Luna Mothews Boo York: Monster High Doll Review

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This Luna Mothews doll is pretty much perfect.

Seeing her through the box might be a little underwhelming, but once she’s out of it she is unbelievably gorgeous.

Her hair, makeup and clothing all mix well together.

The shape of her legs was also something I noticed, she looks beautiful once posed on the doll stand.

Her face really stands out to me since she’s really pretty.

Any flaws? I thought the back wings would have been better if they stayed still but that’s only a minor nit pick.

5/5.

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Madeline Hatter: Ever After High Doll Review

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What to say about Madeline Hatter?

Well to be honest…I thought she looked pretty plain.

Especially in the face.

Her hair is a bit messy but that might be the fault of the packaging I received.

The polka dot stockings and dress are the only major pluses I can give Miss Hatter.

I would have liked if the teacup on her head was bigger.

And I thought having the teapot attached to her hand would have been better.

Overall I’m a little disappointed in this one.

3/5

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The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James (Short Story Analysis)

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The Beast in the Jungle follows a man named John Marcher, who is
obsessed with some unknown catastrophe that he thinks will happen
in his life. He refers to the upcoming event as ‘the beast in the jungle’
Well there is a “beast” and by the end Marcher will learn
what it is.”

The main characters in the story are John Marcher and May Bartram. The two become closely tied as she is the only one that knows about Marcher’s obsession with the impending “catastrophe”. May also agrees to watch for it with him.

So what does the ‘beast in the jungle’ turn out to be? It is Marcher’s inability to love his dear friend May: “The escape would have been to lover her; then then he would have lived. She had lived – who could say now with what passion? – since she had loved him for himself; whereas he had never thought of her (ah how it hugely glared at him!)”

Yes indeed, May Bartram had loved him until her death and it went unrequited. John’s obsession basically destroyed him and kept him from seeing the truth. His life is summed up with this quote from the story: “he had been the man of his time, the man, to whom nothing on earth would have happened.”

Now, it’s easy to view John Marcher as an idiot. However, I don’t think May is any better. She foolishly and passively waits for the man. It’s almost as if she’s playing the game; having Marcher worry about the beast.

This story shows the negative aspect of having the woman in the passive role. The woman feels she has to be pursued by the man rather than be the pursuer. Yes, this is a role that society puts upon women but many seem to accept it. As seen with May Bartram who waits for a male to love and pursue her until her death. Like many women she needs to have Marcher/the man figure out her feelings out and then precede.

However, John Marcher simply does not view May in a romantic light. To him, she is a friend and a tool in his obsession with the so-called beast. “…if the great accident would take form now as nothing more than his being condemned to see this charming woman, this admirable friend, pass away from him.” He clearly does not love May and there’s nothing he can do to change that fact.

Again, it’s easy to demonize Marcher but should he really force himself to love someone? It is my opinion, that both May and Marcher are in the wrong.

At the end, Marcher flings himself onto May’s tomb. This might seem like and act of regret and love but it’s really him trying to avoid facing ‘the beast’ he had so long worried over. “then while he looked, perceived it, as by a stir of the air, rise, huge and hideous for the leap was to settle him. His eyes darkened – it was close and instinctively turning, in his hallucination, to avoid it, he flung himself, face down on the tomb.”

Marcher has discovered “the beast” but he wants to run from it. By flinging himself on May’s grave it’s almost as if he’s seeking the refuge she gave him in life. He wants to go back to the place of ignorance he had with his friendship with May.

Although, possibly not as obsessive as John Marcher there are many who constantly worry about their life going wrong. Almost to the point it prevents them from living. Well, bad things, are likely to happen this is the reality of life. However, one shouldn’t let it prevent them from seeking out pleasure. You don’t want to be like Marcher and have “nothing” happen to you.