Analysis Of Miss Brill

Submitted By Sara-Howell
Words: 1003
Pages: 5

Miss Brill is a lonely older woman, in France, who is no longer an active part of society. She sits in the park by her self and people watched once a week and believes that is her active role in life. Through this story Mansfield argues that the elderly have taken a backseat in modern society, which affects their mental health and emotional wellbeing. She argues this rather effectively through, personification, foreshadowing, and characterization.
Brill has a fur that is one of her prized possessions. “Miss Brill put up her hand and touched her fur. Dear little thing! It was so nice to feel it again. She had taken it out of it’s box that afternoon, shaken out the powder, given it a good brush, and rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes. “What has been happening to me?” said the sad little eyes.”(Mansfield, 116) It is common knowledge that furs don’t speak so the reader knows that the thoughts being pushed onto it are most likely its owner, in this case Brill. Even at the beginning of the story she is wondering what has been happening to her yet she wont allow her self to realize it. A similar event occurs at the end of story after she has had a more direct encounter with modern society. “But today she passed the baker’s by, climbed the stairs, went into the little dark room—her room like a cupboard—and sat down on the red eiderdown. She sat there for a long time. The box the fur came out of was on the bed. She unclasped the necklet quickly; quickly, without looking, laid it inside. But when she put the lid on she thought she heard something crying.”(Mansfield, 120). In this way the author says quite a lot about how Brill is allowed to function. She has no one to speak with in her cupboard of a home. The only one she has is her treasured fur and her self.
Mansfield uses foreshadowing to draw parallels between Miss Brill and an unnamed woman. By showing the similarities between the two the reader is steered into the conclusion that Brill is not as happy and well put together as she has made her self believe. It is easier for people to come to terms with their own personal flaws when they can see them in others. Mansfield uses this fact in showing Brill someone who is similar to her situation. “He was tall, stiff, dignified, and she was wearing the ermine toque she’d bought when her hair was yellow. Now everything, her hair, her face, her eyes, was the same color as the shabby ermine, and her hand in its cleaned glove, lifted to dab her lips, was a tiny yellowish paw.”(Mansfield, 118). Brill is not directly described but based on similarities in peoples opinions and choice of clothing it is not a far jump to say Brill is similar to the ermine toque woman in appearance and age. Both of them wear at least one article of clothing that they most likely purchased in the past and that has seen better days, for brill it is her fur. Mansfield goes on the write, “The day was so charming—wouldn’t he agree? And wouldn’t he perhaps?...But he shook his head, lighted a cigarette, slowly breathed a great deep puff in her face, and, even while she was still talking and laughing, flicked the match away and walked on. The ermine toque was alone; she smiled more brightly than ever.”(118). Brill watches this woman who is similar to her be cast aside. Later Mansfield writes, “No, not now,” said the girl. “Not here, I can’t.” “But why? Because of that stupid old thing at the end there?” asked the boy. “Why does she come here at all—who wants her? Why doesn’t she keep her silly old mug at home?”(120). In this passage a couple is referring to Miss Brill