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Daisy Miller

Daisy Miller

by Henry James

Tradition and Customs Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"They are very common," Mrs. Costello declared. "They are the sort of Americans that one does one's duty by not—not accepting."

"Ah, you don't accept them?" said the young man.

"I can't, my dear Frederick. I would if I could, but I can't." (1.101-3)

It's dreadfully inconvenient how Mrs. Costello has no free will over her own actions and is merely a slave to custom and social convention. Bummer.

Quote #2

"She has that charming look that they all have," his aunt resumed. "I can't think where they pick it up; and she dresses in perfection—no, you don't know how well she dresses. I can't think where they get their taste."

"But, my dear aunt, she is not, after all, a Comanche savage."

"She is a young lady," said Mrs. Costello, "who has an intimacy with her mamma's courier." (1.108-10)

Winterbourne's offensive joke about Comanches is his way of telling his aunt that even though Daisy comes from a different culture than they do, it doesn't mean she has no culture. Weirdly enough here, you get to see his compassionate cultural relativism through his total ignorance about actual Comanches.

Quote #3

"I think you had better not go out in a boat, mademoiselle," Eugenio declared.

Winterbourne wished to Heaven this pretty girl were not so familiar with her courier; but he said nothing.

"I suppose you don't think it's proper!" Daisy exclaimed.

"Eugenio doesn't think anything's proper." (1.228)

Man, Eugenio really guards propriety like it was the last peanut butter M&M in Shmoop's kitchen.

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