Miss Brill Essays

Submitted By Kwiley30
Words: 815
Pages: 4

The short story “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield’s depicts that Miss Brill is a delusional character who is deprived of emotional human bonds and the change that Miss Brill is forced to undergo is illustrated through symbolism, characterization, and theme. This short story paints a picture of an elderly woman, Miss Brill, who believes life is a walk in the park, until a couple leads her to believe life is not all fantasy. Although this tale develops gradually, Miss Brill undergoes a drastic transformation at the tale’s end.
Miss Brills fur is her most prized possession as she refers to it once as “Dear little thing!” (102). She is excited to be taking the fur out of its box, but is heartbroken when a young woman refers to it as “a fried whiting” (105). It is this moment when the drastic transformation of Miss Brill is evident. Miss Brill then leaves the park, skips the usual bakery stop, and goes home to “her room like a cupboard” (Brill 105). She takes off the fur, puts it back in the box, and the last line says “But when she put the lid on she thought she heard something crying” (Brill 105). At this point it is now evident through symbolism, Miss Brill herself is crying. It is now Miss Brill finally sees reality.
The developing character of Miss Brill is first portrayed as an elderly woman, happy and content with life, however in denial about her lack of human contact. On her Sundays in the park she enjoys watching people, and taking part in what she calls a play, because “even she had a part” (Brill 105). She also gets much satisfaction from listening to the conversations of others, listening to the band, and is especially happy this Sunday because it is the beginning of the season. Since Miss Brill believes her life is wonderful, it takes a harsh insult from a stranger to bring about the transformation. It is then when the character of Miss Brill develops into a woman realizing she is all alone.
The theme of “Miss Brill” sums up the change that the protagonist undergoes. Creating a fantasy life can protect a person from loneliness, however the effects of reality are heart breaking. Miss Brill believes she is important, until that fateful day at the park. She is content in her fantasy world, and devastated when removed from it. The theme outlines the effects of Miss Brill’s change.
Miss Brill views herself as a needed part of something spectacular on Sundays. She sits on the park bench wearing the fur that she is so fond of and in her mind nothing could be grander than "the play" at the garden. When thinking of things, such as the band that plays regularly in the park, Miss Brill compares them to family: "It was like someone playing with only the family to listen...." (103) Everything and everyone is included in this performance she loves so dearly. Even the young couple who take a seat on the bench with her are pictured to be the "hero and heroine" of her magical fairy tale. This is her escape from the life she has; her escape from the truth.
In reality, Miss Brill is a part of