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Daisy Miller is a short novel written by Henry James in the late 19th century. It is the classic story of an American Girl lost in a new world of European society. While the story is highly recomended, I do not recomend writing an Essay for AP English the night before it's due.

Here's an essay arguing Daisy's innocence:
Although Daisy may seem to be responsible for her own misfortunes, she is innocent because she is still operating under the system of American consequences. Through no fault of her own, Daisy never became aware of the differences in European and American society. With no idea of what is expected of her, Daisy remains innocent because she doesn’t know that her actions are reprehensible. Perhaps most of all, Daisy is innocent because she was destroyed by circumstances out of her control.

Daisy is innocent because, due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, she was never informed of the consequences of breaking ‘the rules’ of European society. Her mother is expected to provide much of the necessary discipline; however, as Mrs. Walker notes, “Did you ever see anything so imbecile as her mother?” Daisy’s mother should have expressly forbidden her adventures or, at the least, accompanied her throughout; instead, she allows Daisy free rein. Society demands that her mother protect her and inform her of the dangers of society. As Mrs. Costello notes, “She is a young lady… who has an intimacy with her mamma's courier…They treat the courier like a familiar friend—like a gentleman.” It is both her mother’s and Eugenio’s job to know the customs so that such rumors do not even start. It is not Daisy’s fault that she was born into a family with no understanding of European customs.

Daisy is innocent because she believed she was still operating in an American context. When Daisy, “Looked at Mrs. Walker, smiling intensely.” and said “Talked about? What do you mean?” she was still thinking in terms of American society. In America her goal as a ‘pretty American flirt’ was to get talked about. In Europe, such actions result in near instant ostracization. Unfortunately, Daisy was never given the opportunity to learn this until it was too late. Daisy saying, “I would have appreciated one’s esteem” is the ultimate proof of her lack of understanding. She thought that her actions would result in esteem from Winterbourne. She never understood that Winterbourne was judging her by society’s standards first, his second. If she did not conform to the expectations of society, Winterbourne would never hold her in esteem. Daisy remains innocent because in the American context she was still walking the fine line of a ‘nice girl’; she did not know that she had already brashly leaped into uncharted territory. We cannot hold Daisy responsible for doing that which she didn’t know was wrong.

In today’s society we recognize people destroyed by circumstances out of their control as innocents. The victims of the Holocaust, children in Bosnia, people growing up in ghettos; all of these are innocents. In a similar manner, Daisy is destroyed by forces outside her control and thus innocent. She is destroyed because she is never informed of the severity of European consequences; because her mother fails to protect her; because Giovanelli fails in his Gentleman’s duty to protect her. It is not her fault but others’ when she breaks the rules of European society. We cannot hold Daisy responsible for doing things she should never have been given the opportunity to do.

The story of Daisy Miller is a tragic example of what can happen when consequences are changed without a person’s knowledge. Daisy never became aware of her new situation. Lacking an awareness of the European rules, Daisy remains innocent because, in the paradigm she thought she was working in, she was not doing wrong. Finally, we recognize people destroyed by circumstances outside their control as innocents—Daisy is such a person. As Giovanelli notes, “She was the most beautiful young lady I ever saw, and the most amiable…and she was the most innocent.”

Please do not copy this verbatim, I would hate to be involved in academic collusion. Use the thesis if you really like it, though I wouldn't really recomend it...

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