This conversation reveals the primary motive behind many of Daisy’s actions: she wants peopleto feel something for her. In many cases, it doesn’t even matter what those feelings are, so longas she knows that she can generate strong emotional reactions from people. For Daisy, if her actions don’t challenge others or create controversy, then they aren’t worth doing.
: 27, self-centered, easily amused, controlling, attractive with a moustache, enjoys playing with women and sees Daisy as another source of entertainment and enjoyment. He actsvery polite and proper but doesn’t seem to have a lot of genuine respect for people. He is caught between following the strict social rules of Geneva, and wanting to play and be independent ashe perceives people to be in America. He feels a desire to protect Daisy, but this desire isn’tcompletely well-intentioned because his main motivation is to keep her to himself. He feels acertain since of entitlement when dealing with women that isn’t really justified. He does not havestrong emotions or care for the wellbeing of others as much as he cares for himself.
“Winterbourne colored; for an instant he hesitated greatly. It seemed so strange to hear her speak that way of her ‘reputation.’ But he himself, in fact, must speak in accordance with gallantry. The finest gallantry here was simply to tell her the truth, and the truth for Winterbourne […] was that Daisy Miller should take Mrs. Walker’s advice. He looked at her exquisite prettiness, and then said, very gently, ‘I think you should get into the carriage.’”
The scene in which this quote occurs reveals a great deal about the power play taking place between Mrs. Walker and Daisy, and Winterbourne’s uncomfortable position in the middle of it. because Mrs. Walker is a more powerful character is his eyes, he is inclined to agree with her onsocial matters, and may feel the need to control Daisy as well so that she might feel reliant onand loyal to him. He doesn’t want to acknowledge the true depth of Daisy’s independence, andsees it as a threat to himself.
: 35, frizzy, feeble, tepid, unable to control her children, disheveled, dresses morefancily than necessary, weak, does not take action or express strong opinions, passive. Unawareof subtleties in social conditions, does not protect her daughter from malicious or ill-intentioned people, unaware of what is going on around her. Perhaps it is Mrs. Miller’s lack of authority thatis responsible both for Daisy’s inability to deal with authority and direction, and her desire toseek it out from others. She doesn’t sleep often and is frequently ill.
“Her mother was a small, spare, light person, with a wandering eye, a very exiguous nose, and a large forehead, decorated with a certain amount of thin, much-frizzled hair. Like her daughter, Mrs. Miller wasdressed with extreme elegance; she had enormous diamonds in her ears.”
Mrs. Miller’s physical description has a strong correlation with her personality traits. She is weak physically and has a weak role in her family; she doesn’t know how to dress appropriately andhas trouble integrating into European society.
: 7, precious, smart, bold, stubborn, quintessential young American boy. Hates Europeand just wants to go home, doesn’t respect adults or authority, lacks social graces, independent,has an adventurous spirit, doesn’t sleep often, unwilling to listen to others, doesn’t like his sister,admires his father and loves New York.
“‘I haven’t got any teeth to hurt. They have all come out. I have only got seven teeth. My mother counted them last night. She said she’d slap me if any more came out. I can’t help it. It’s this old Europe. It’s theclimate that makes them come out. In America they don’t come out. It’s these hotels.’”