“Miss Brill” this is a story about a woman, about her internal condition, about hurting feeling of loneliness and deep desire to be important, about estrangement. It is a natural desire for every human being to feel a part of the society, to be important and recognized at least for and by the members of his family and friends and colleagues – these all are the key concepts of the narration.
The whole story is an interior monologue of a woman. This story is told by omniscient author, i.e. the author knows what Miss Brill is feeling, is thinking, what world she is living in. It is difficult to find the conflict of the story while reading the first pages, when you are made to feel the spirit of the Sunday day, park with people walking and band playing, when you see everything “through” the mind and feelings of Miss Brill, but when the author lets the reader out of her head and he reads the conversations of two young people, it becomes clear that the whole conflict of the story lays in the main character.
The story reflects the typical style of Katherine Mansfield: stream-of-consciousness narration, the aim of which is to show how complex the usual every-day life of the characters is.
The main heroin of the story is Miss Brill, she is a middle-aged unmarried woman, who teaches English to students. Another activity is to read newspaper to an old man several times a week. At the beginning of the story she seems to live in an illusionary world of “theatre” as she calls it for herself: “They were all on stage. They weren’t only the audience, no only looking on; they were acting.” She doesn’t want to look at herself as some old bench sitter, she prefers to see her as an actress, whose absence in this play everybody would notice. This is a way to escape from gloomy feeling of non-importance to the society and loneliness. Her “littler dark room” is a bright contrast to the park, she comes to. She is so excited about her walk in the park, about the people around her, she is pleased to watch them, and she finds the reflection of her emotions and of everything that happens to other people in the music of the band in the park: “Oh, how fascinating it was! How she enjoyed it! How she loved sitting here, watching it all!” Another contribution to her good mood is her fur necklace. It is one of her appreciated possessions: “Dear little thing! It was nice to feel it again” and she is hardly able to think that others could consider it to be old fashioned and funny, like that young couple, who sits next to her. It is evident that that young girl doesn’t have the aim to hurt the feelings of that woman, she has her own problems, and she can not imagine how deep the woman was touched by a couple of sentences she exchanged with her friend. But the boy…