Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

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Miss Brill, written by Katherine Mansfield, depicts loneliness in such a way that captures the reader’s attention and arouses sympathy. The elderly Miss Brill repeats a weekly ritual of visiting spending Sunday afternoons in a park. She ventures out on this customary visit to soak in the tunes of a band that frequents the park but most importantly, to delight in the opportunity of sitting in on the lives of others through eavesdropping and watching. Miss Brill creates an alternate universe to suppress the truths of reality, but that delusional reality is inevitably shattered. Loneliness causes the mind to create a fragile reality in order to overlook present obstacles. Through Mansfield’s characterization of Miss Brill, the use of symbolism,…show more content…
Miss Brill’s actions, the way she perceives others, and the way others act toward her depict her character. Throughout the story, Miss Brill carries around and interacts with the fox fur she uncovers from a box. Her unusual behavior reveals that she lacks companionship. The fur is the only friend she has. Also, Miss Brill is characterized by the way she perceives others. She criticizes others rather than focus on her own self. Miss Brill does not want to acknowledge the fact that she too is old. She noticed that “there was something funny about nearly all of them. They were odd,silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they’d just come from dark little rooms--even cupboards.” Rather than admit that she is also old like the people she notices, Miss Brill acts as though she is completely different than them. She would rather identify herself with the woman in the ermine toque. This avoidance demonstrates Miss Brill’s unwillingness to return to reality. Lastly, the way others react toward Miss Brill gives insight into her character. The young couple’s actions toward Miss Brill allow important insight into her life. The fact that they will not speak in her presence shows that she is unwanted. Their judgement of her further emphasizes her loneliness. They shun her like others, and drive the nail into the coffin that is her isolation. Miss Brill’s characterization illustrates her solidarity and lack of grasp on

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