Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Daisy Miller

I finally found a Henry James story (required reading naturally) that I sort of enjoyed.

Daisy Miller is a rather unusual story about an American girl and her family visiting Europe. But the tale of Daisy is told by a man who meets her in Switzerland, Mr. Winterbourne. He's very attracted to her and thinks about her constantly, even meeting her again in Rome months later. But Daisy is a flirtatious girl, and (in the time this story was written), it was often seen as very inappropriate for young, unmarried women to be seen alone with men.

I really enjoyed it because it didn't have a vague underlying tone like The Turn of the Screw or The Beast in the Jungle had. This was a very open story. You immediately see the kind of person that Daisy is, and as much as you try to warn the main character against her, you know he's going to love her.

I didn't particularly like Daisy as a character, but I loved Mr. Winterbourne. He was always very respectful to her, even when she didn't deserve that respect and after most of the society in Rome had rejected her.

I'd probably recommend this story to some people. But I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. I think that it's a story that only some people would find enjoyable and others would find dull.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Beast In The Jungle

Well, my opinion of Henry James hasn't changed much. Still very dull.

This novella, thankfully, was considerably shorter than Turn of the Screw was. It seemed to be a love story. Sort of.

The main characters had a secret between them. It was never completely revealed as to what this was, but it was alluded through the entire story as being some perversely sexual. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I got out of it.

I find myself struggling through these Henry James novellas. I'm used to authors telling you what's going on instead of alluding and hinting at it. I spent the entirely of this story feeling like I had intruded on a private conversation halfway through, and I'd missed the important parts to know what was going on.

So far, I'm not recommending Henry James stories.

The Turn Of The Screw

This novella took forever to read. I found it so dull and hard to get into.

The basic premise is a ghost story. Let's face it, those have been around for, well, forever. A pair of children are haunted by a pair of ghosts who are bent on killing them. I never figured out why, I never really understood most of this story. I tried. Lord knows I did.

I think I just felt a little lost. The ghosts, while they had names, were often just referred to as he and she. The main character was the governess to the children who was constantly seeing these apparitions. She's convinced she's going crazy. Maybe she is.

All I know is that I didn't enjoy this story at all.