Mr. James Quinlan
2 February 2015
Analyzing “Miss Brill”
Miss Brill is an optimistic older aged woman who leads a lonely life. Aside from her English students she does not have any companionship around her. Her solitude has led to her adroit eavesdropping skills and despite her lonely agenda she remains positive by doing things that keep her content. Her one and only social activity is her weekly Sunday outing to the gardens of her homeland Paris. It is the one thing that keeps her in touch with the civilization around her and the only way she is privileged to keep in touch with the citizens of the outside world. To Miss Brill’s benefit the gardens of Paris are full of alluring activity of which she is eager to oversee. The character of this deserted yet satisfied woman plays an essential part in the context of the entire story. The story has somewhat of a mystic aspect to it being that you think you know all about this woman, that it is until the very end of the Katherine Mansfield written excerpt.
At the particular point in her life portrayed in this story, Miss Brill is a somewhat expert at living a desolate lifestyle. She has learned how to keep a humble profile but she still knows how to enjoy the smaller things in life. “It also explained why she had quite a queer, shy feeling at telling her English pupils how she spent her Sunday afternoons. No wonder! Miss Brill nearly laughed out loud.” (Katherine Mansfield 74). She keeps herself entertained with her personal thoughts and her confident demeanor. One of Miss Brill’s most superlative characteristics is that she is able to enjoy her adventures in life with everything she has been given, which isn’t very much. She is not a greedy woman; Miss Brill lives every day without question of why she is alone and instead has the attitude that her time should be enjoyed, not wasted. Miss Brill is attentive to every aspect of the actions that takes place around her during her time in the gardens. “She had become really quite expert, she thought, at listening as though she didn’t listen, at sitting in other people’s lives just for a minute while they talked round her” (72). She sits in silence but her attentive mindset brings her a great portion of the joy she has well spending her time in the garden.
Miss Brill lives a simple lifestyle, only doing things which she feels will make her happy. She does not let her schedule get interrupted by any means. Putting myself in the shoes of Miss Brill I would think that living a life such as hers would be a dreadful scenario. Mansfield however decides to portray Miss Brill as happily living this lifestyle. The schedule that Miss Brill goes by is an essential factor if the meaning of the story because it gives us as an audience insight on her persona. The joy that comes along with Miss Brill is misconstrued by the end of the story when the true emotion that she feels inside. Miss Brill has an unfortunate encounter with a boy and girl. As always Miss Brill gets prepared to listen in, as she does she hears the boy refer to her as “that stupid old thing at the end” (75). It is after that scene where her true feelings begin to come out. “The box that 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.” (75). Miss Brill’s inner emotion is something that is not shown up until the last page of the excerpt. When it says “she heard something crying” (75) it is an obvious assumption that the crying she heard was that of her own voice, being that she lives alone. The plot twist plays a significant role in the story because it