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MonkeyNotes Study Guide-Daisy Miller by Henry James-Chapter Summary
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DAISY MILLER STUDY GUIDE

CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

PART II: "ROME"

Summary

Winterbourne, back in Geneva for some months, has received letters from his aunt, who is in Rome. She reports that the people he was "so devoted to" are also in Rome, with their courier, and "the young lady" has taken up with some third-rate Italians. She hastens her nephew to join her. When Winterbourne arrives in Rome, the two of them discuss the Millers. He wants to know what has been going on, and she tells him that Daisy has been bringing a flock of Italian fortune hunters to people's houses, particularly one handsome fellow with a "wonderful mustache." In her aristocratic way, his aunt states that Mrs. Miller has been conspicuously absent. Winterbourne defends the Millers, saying they are not bad, just ignorant. In fact, he insists that he will see them again, a fact that displeases Mrs. Costello. His aunt is convinced that the whole family is vulgar, and she thoroughly dislikes all of them.

Winterbourne discovers that he is upset over the fact that Daisy has a gentleman friend. He has nursed an image of the young girl in Rome urgently waiting for his arrival. To adjust to his feeling, he decides to visit other friends before locating Daisy. First he sees Mrs. Walker, whose children were at school with him in Geneva. Almost immediately after his arrival, the Millers are announced. Randolph walks in and is stunned to see Winterbourne. The boy is followed by Daisy and her mother. Daisy wants to know why Winterbourne did not first come to see her. Winterbourne has no answer.


While Daisy talks to Mrs. Walker, Winterbourne speaks with Mrs. Miller, who is suffering from dyspepsia and won't quite look at him. Mrs. Miller says the climate of Italy is not so "bracing" as Schenectady, and she misses her doctor there, who is well thought of and devoted to her. They continue to talk pathology, while Daisy chatters to her hostess. Winterbourne asks Mrs. Miller if she likes Rome, and she answers that she doesn't, saying she expected something different. She has found other places far more agreeable, like Zurich. Winterbourne steers the conversation to Daisy. Mrs. Miller assures him that she has been having a wonderful time, for "the society is splendid". She explains that Daisy goes all around with her gentleman friends.

Daisy returns to Winterbourne and again complains that he has not called upon her in Rome. He feels annoyed with Daisy's complaints and remembers a friend telling him that American woman are the most exacting and the least grateful. When he tries to defend himself, Daisy turns to Mrs. Walker and calls Winterbourne "quaint." The hostess is obviously not pleased with Daisy's behavior, especially since she and Randolph are vying for attention. She is even less enchanted when Daisy says she would like to bring an Italian friend, Giovanelli, to the Walkers' party. She claims that he is handsome, clever, and eager to know Americans. Mrs. Walker agrees, reluctantly.

Mrs. Miller suggests that her family go back to their hotel, but Daisy says she is going for a walk. Mrs. Walker says that it is unsafe to walk alone and warns Daisy that she could catch a fever, a clear foreshadowing of the end of the story. When Mrs. Walker learns that Daisy's plan is to stroll with Giovanelli, she pleads for her not to go. Mrs. Miller weakly comes to her daughter's defense, pointing out that he does, at least, speak English. Daisy decides that the matter can be settled by Winterbourne, who can walk her to The Pincio to meet Giovanelli. Winterbourne politely agrees. As Winterbourne leaves with Daisy, he decides he will not give up on her in spite of the Italian.

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