two stories that better express the “American realism” for me are the
story of Daisy Miller by James and “At the Canadian Ball” of Kate
To start off, the story of Daisy Miller began in Vevey,
Switzerland with Winterbourne and Daisy meeting through Daisy’s brother
Randolph. Daisy is the “pretty American flirt” throughout the novella
(James 474). She is nice and sweet, but also rebellious and ignorant.
Daisy really does not care what society thinks of her. This is noticed
throughout the novel when she goes to Chillon with Winterbourne alone
and when she walks the streets at night with Giovanelli. Most Europeans
look down upon American travelers in Europe, especially when they do not
follow the customs and culture of their country. This is still current
as of today. Additionally, The Miller family treats their carrier,
Eugenio from a lower class, like one of the family. Typically, carriers
live and sleep on the lower levels of the house, while Eugenio sleeps on
the same level and interacts with the family. This is something that
stands out to Winterbourne’s aunt, Mrs. Costello because that is unheard
of in European culture.
Kate Chopin’s “At the Acadian Ball” addresses hot topics such as
race, economic and social class in the late 19th century in Louisiana.
She defines the historical social classes and caste system of Louisiana
through her characters: Alcee Labaliere, his mother, Bobinot, Calixta,
and Bruce the African American servant. Alcee, his mother, and Clarisse
reside in the upper class society of Louisiana. Bobinot is a
representative of the Acadians and therefore lives a bourgeois
lifestyle. Calixta is a mixed Acadian and is placed into a lower class
than pure Acadians such as Bobinot. Finally, Kate defines the social
classes and caste systems of Louisianans through her character Bruce,
Alcee’s servant. The characters are discriminated against because of
their race, regardless of whether they are Creole, Acadian, Spanish, or
African American. This discrimination results in the formation of
specific social and economic classes.