Arguments abound as to whether resemblance can be said to mean similarity. Most people associate resemblance with physical appearance and similarity with characteristically appearance. However, there is a thin line between the two as one can be said to be a subset of the other. Interestingly, people who exhibit a resemblance of each other tend to behave in the same way but it is difficult to find people who are similar in characteristics resembling one another. This paper compares and contrasts the characteristics and behavior of two women, Gretta Conroy in The Dead by James Joyce and another name Daisy Miller, in Daisy Miller by James Henry.
There is a sharp contrast between the two women in terms of exposure and knowledge. Whereas Gretta Conroy is a mother who seems to obey the wishes of her husband to the latter, Daisy Miller is wealthy, learned, and travelled. Mrs. Conroy seems to be in tandem with her children and in fact decides to leave the management of the house under her daughter when she goes out with her husband. On the other hand, Daisy cannot even trust her brother or her mother as evidenced when she comes around and finds the brother talking to Mr. Giovanelli. The boy has in fact been telling Mr. Giovanelli that the big sister always harasses him.
Gretta comes out as a respectable person whose relatives and family holds in high esteem. This is evident in the way the two aunts and Miss Ivors admonishes her husband for making her wear galoshes to a party. Gabriel jokingly says that Gretta loves galoshes and she in fact claims that they remind her of her early life. Gretta is respectful among the people around her and most of the time she does not speak except for the situations when someone prompts her or she is required to bring dinner on the table. On the other hand, Daisy is disrespectful and ignorant and even at some point thinks that every person in the land she ever visits, including Mr.Winterbourne, must know the English woman whom she met on the train simply because both women come from Europe. This is ignorance of the highest order for a young educated lady like Daisy to think that people get to know each other personally simply because they come from the same continent. The contrast is clear for Gretta who keeps numb even as more and more visitors continue to come to the party until two gentlemen sing a song that reminds her of her former lover who allegedly died because of her.
The two women exhibit two divergent characters in terms of their social standing and the respect they command from other people. Gretta is lovable by money and loves all people both men and women. She is almost uneasy in every conversation and seems to weigh every answer she wants to give before uttering it. She seems to be adamant in her decisions and associations with other people. For instance, when Miss Ivors refuses to participate in dinner, she tries to persuade her to take dinner using a joke, “Well, you're the comical girl, Molly," (James, 7). This makes the already decided Ivors laugh even though she does not stay for supper. Miss Ivors goes away laughing and this removes the possibility that Gabriel is the reason why Miss Ivors refuses to take supper because Gabriel also declined her invitation to visit his homeland during the Christmas holiday.
On the other hand, Daisy Miller comes around as a person who likes to show off her pretty physique to people especially to the opposite gender. Nobody understands her except Mr. Winterbourne whom Daisy Miller flirts with from the first moment they met at Vevey; a conducive environment for flirting. This is seen from Mr. Winterbourne’s observation that, “…but here at Vevey, what conditions could be better than these?” (Henry, 2). Daisy lacks the charm and wit for striking a conversation. When it finally happens, thanks to her brother Randolph, she comes out as manipulative to Winterbourne. The two women contrasts their utilization of the love for men in that, Gretta loves her husband genuinely until she is reminded of a song that was liked by her former lover. Daisy on the other hand is not genuine with her love for the men who come across her because she only wants to use them for her own benefit. In fact, Winterbourne worries about whether Daisy is a good person.
On the other hand, the similarity between Gretta Conroy and Daisy Miller is revealed in their love for men. This love makes them both die. As for Gretta, the reminder of her former lover through a song devastates her so much that she refuses to talk to her husband and finally enters into a comma and dies. Daisy Miller on the other hand, does not know whom to genuinely love and therefore chooses to play around with men. She goes out with one of the men in a chilly evening and catches a fever. She does not hit the advice of Mr. Winterbourne to take medicine to cure her sickness because she believes that Winterbourne does not believe that she is not engaged to Mr. Giovanelli. Nevertheless, Daisy Miller hates herself for not revealing her true social life and when Winterbourne pumps into her and Mr. Giovanelli in the light of the moon, he decides that indeed Daisy Miller is engaged to Mr. Giovanelli and therefore he does not have a chance to get her hand into marriage. It is evident that the two women cherish their first love although this becomes a dangerous possession which leads them to their death.
Whereas Gretta cherishes love so much to the point of being disoriented upon the hearing of the song, Daisy Miller cherishes her freedom because she is unable to choose between the two men whom to marry. Mr. Giovanelli was sure she would not ever marry him because of her escapades with different men. Mr. Winterbourne, who is genuinely in love with her, is left with no other option but to abandon her when he finds out that the woman might have been cheating on her with another man. Her mother Mrs. Miller is also in the dark concerning her daughter’s love life until she is on her deathbed. It is from this bed that she tells her mother to tell Winterbourne about her true love for him, but this is too late as Mr. Winterbourne’s mind is already made up concerning their association.
In conclusion, epiphanies between Gretta Conroy and Daisy Miller are revealed in the way the two women socialize. Gretta is humbly and genuine to people who are around her including husband Gabriel Conroy until memories of her former lover are brought back to her through a song. This ignites her true value for love and therefore she retreats into herself upon the remembrance of the way a handsome man died because of her. Daisy Miller on the other hand is undecided in her love life to the last point when she is dying. It is at this point that she reveals her true love for Mr. Winterbourne. The two women end their love stories tragically because they do not get to enjoy what they most cherish in their lives.