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Inquiry: How does the tension between independence and social expectations affect the characters outcomes?

Diasy Miller


Mrs Walker & Mrs Costello —have certain expectations of the way women should interact in society which are determined by the rules
~Mrs Walker “Alone, my dear—- at this hour?” “I don’t consider it safe.. you’ll catch a fever” (46).

they give their advice to Winterbourne,
~Mrs Walker “Its a pity to let the girl ruin herself.. She’s very reckless” (52).

Winterbourne — his first expectations of a girl are similar to his Aunt’s ideas. Which a girl who is not as forward as Daisy

~narator “Above all he was charmed. He had never yet heard a young girl express herself in jus this fashion never” (14).

outcome: falls for her and wants to be with her but then becomes sad because she dies and does not get to be with her.

~Winterbourne “A week after the poor girl died” (79).
“She was the most beautiful young lady I ever saw, and the most amiable , and the most innocent” (80).

Daisy Miller- Wants to have her way, and be able to do the things she wanted. She blew off Europeans social expectations. Also didnt think there were any consequences

~Daisy “I am more than five years old” (53).
“You may go back to the hotel, mother, but I’m just going to walk around” (46).

there are consequences, such as disapproval and questionable morals, which ends in death

~Winterbourne “A week after the poor girl died” (79).

Daisy Miller’s mother expectations for Daisy: that meets a guy with a reliable reputation however allows Daisy to do what she wants.

~Winterbourne “ her mother melts away when the visitors come” (56).

outcome: Unfortunately this does not happen, and the mother is ashamed of her daughter


Daisy Miller does not follow the rules, and is independent.
~Winterbourne “she did what she liked.” (80)

She disobeys her mom by going out with Giovani Bernard
~Daisy “I’m not going alone, I’m going to meet a friend” (46).
“Good-bye, I’m going to take a walk” (47).

She tells Winterbourne that she has many men friends
~ Mrs Costello says about Daisy “She has picked up half a dozen of the regular fortune hunters..” (40).
~Daisy “ In New York I had lots of society.. I’ve more friends in New York than in Schenectady— more gentleman friend” (14).

She is known throughout the town (not the best reasons)
~Mrs. Walker “ You’re old enough, Miss Miller, to be talked about.”(53). “Should you prefer being thought a very reckless girl?” (53).
Then asks if she should get in the carriage to Winterbourne and he tells her yes. However ~Daisy “Good bye; I hope you have a lovely ride” (53).

Daisy with her independent American attitude is somewhat shocking and thrilling to such men as Winterbourne. Daisy seems to understand this on some level that serves to reinforce her need to ignore traditions and rules. What Daisy thinks is just fun is not well-received by the Europeans who view her as disrespectful and of questionable morality.

~Winterbourne” Everything that is not done here. Flirting with any man she can pick up; sitting in corners with mysterious Italians; dancing all the evenings with the same partners; receiving vistors at eleven o’clock at night” (55).

outcome: ends up dying of disease, and society rejects her as a moral person

~Winterbourne “she did what she liked.” (80)

Pride and Prejudice


Mrs Bennet- Wanted daughters to be married into good situations. Even though they were not in the best social class.
~ Mrs. Bennet “If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield,” Mrs. Bennet said to her husband, “and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for” (9).

Lizzy- doesn’t primarily focus on money. She wants to have a real relation with genuine love. Also a man that is smart, mindful, and handsome
In Chapter 24, in a conversation with her sister Jane regardig the engagement of Charlotte Lucas and Rev. Collins, Elizabeth says: “‘You shall not for the sake of one individual, change the meaning of pricile and integrity, nor endeavour to persuad yourself or me that se;fishness i prudnce, and insensibility of danger security for Happiness’”(Austen chapetr 24)

Jane- a girl that is naive to the “cruel” world around her. Wants to have a fantasied relationship. She is always trying to find the best in people, and loves that Mr. bingley is a genuine man that respects her.

~Jane “I do not at all comprehend her reason for wishing to be intimate with me; but if the same circumstances were to happen again, I am sure I should be deceived again”

Darcy- to find a woman that can test him even if she does not have the same status as him. So this girl must be smart, independent, and bold. He does not have to the prettiest girl in the world.

~narrator “To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence: Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked..”

~narrator “Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed that were it not for her inferiority of her connections he should be in some danger” (49).

Lady De Catherine: that everyone else is below her. To be able to interact with her, they must be of high or similar status as her. When they do not meet these requirements then she is condescending towards them.

~Lady de Catherine “Then the upstart pretensions of a young woman without family, connections, or fortune… but it must not, shall not be” (239).


Lizzy Bennet- has a deeper expectation for independence.

wants to be strong- Her dealings with Mr. Collins and not rejecting his proposal. “ You could not make me happy , and I am convinced I am the last woman in the world who would make you so”

Elizabeth is not looking for some man with money. She wants someone smart and an actual connection.

self reliant- The interactions with Lady De Catherine- I am only resolved to act in that manner , which will , in my own opinion , constitute my happiness , without reference to you , or to any person so wholly unconnected with me”

Elizabeth does not care that Lady De Catherine is of higher class. Lizzy lets her know that she will not back down.

smart- Lizzys interactions with Darcy when they were at Mr. Bingly’s house

~Darcy “ For the liveliness of your mind, I did” (256).

Elizabeth does not just agree with Darcy’s thoughts and claims. On the contrary she counters them with her own ideas due to her knowledge from reading.

outcome: She gets everything she wanted, She gets to marry Darcy and is very happy. Society accepts her even Lady de Catherine

~Lady Catherine “She even waited on them at Pemberly.. Either her affection for him or her curiosity to see how his wife conducted herself” (262).

Lydia Bennet- wants to be independent, however takes to a different extreme than Lizzy. She runs off with a man than could potentially cost her family’s reputation.

“Elizabeth had frequently united with Jane in an endeavour to check the imprudence of Catherine and Lydia; but while they were supported by their mother’s indulgence, what chance could there be of improvement? Catherine, weak-spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia’s guidance, had been always affronted by their advice; and Lydia, self-willed and careless, would scarcely give them a hearing. They were ignorant, idle, and vain. While there was an officer in Meryton, they would flirt with him; and while Meryton was within a walk of Longbourn, they would be going there for ever.”

“But they were entirely ignorant of what had passed; and their raptures continued, with little intermission, to the very day of Lydia’s leaving home.”

outcome: marries Wickham, but a lot of strings have to be pulled in order for it to work. Society thinks down upon her.
~Rev. Collins “ This false step in one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves with such a family…”

I based my movie trailer of a relatively new T.V show called Gossip Girl because the characters in Gossip Girl fit the characters we studied in class. I compared Blair Waldorf to Elizabeth Bennet and Serena Van der Woodsen to Daisy Miller. Blair Waldorf in the T.V series is very independent and strong willed. She will stand up to her challenger how she feels and the facts. Blair also triumphs numerous times, the most important one marrying Chuck Bass. Serena is friends with Blair but is polar opposite of Blair. Serena is very scandalous and likes to have the limelight. She has many scandals throughout the series, one of which I included of her having an affair with a senator.