Rating: Five out of five stars
Henry James is a misogynist, complete with the symbolic fedora and complaints about the “friend zone.” H.J. has obviously created Winterbourne as a liaison between the novella and his own personal ideas of women and society. Winterbourne as a character is in the 19th century version of the “friend zone.” H.J., simply put, is a man who writes about the stereotype of a woman and has the ego and audacity to call it a study.
Winterbourne seems to be the voice of H.J, as seen in the two quotes below:
“At the risk of exciting a somewhat derisive smile on the reader’s part, I may affirm that with regard to the women who had hitherto interested him, it very often seemed to Winterbourne among the possibilities that, given certain contingencies, he should be afraid – literally afraid – of these ladies…”
“It was as if the sudden illumination had been flashed upon the ambiguity of Daisy’s behavior, and the riddle had become easy to read. She was a young lady whom a gentleman need no longer to be at pains to respect.”
Because, you know, if a lady is not how she should be in the eyes of society, she is not deserving of respect and the men thus do not have to pain themselves to respect the specimen, the creature, the lesser, the…etc.
In this sense, Winterbourne, or H.J. for that matter, deserve to be alone and without the need to be at pains to respect an independent female.
I give this book five stars for two reasons. The first is because of Daisy’s independent nature. The second is because this book offers so many perspectives and opportunities for discussion and debate through various spectra and areas of focus.
This review can also be found on Goodreads.
Picture from Amazon.