An Analysis Of Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

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In the short story “Miss Brill”, written by Katherine Mansfield, a woman describes the events happening on a Sunday afternoon at a public garden. The protagonist, Miss Brill, takes pleasure in her weekly ritual of sitting in the park, listening to the melodic drone of the band, and eavesdropping on the conversations of other attendees. At the end of the short story, the reader becomes aware that Miss Brill is elderly and lonesome, and has been attempting to alter this reality, but proves to be weak behind her facade. Mansfield 's is able to effectively communicate her view of the title character through the manipulation of vivid imagery and specific word choice. The author’s use of rhythmic and vivid descriptions aid in illustrating the characteristics…show more content…
Miss Brill often criticizes people’s clothing, “An Englishman and his wife, he was wearing a dreadful Panama hat and she button boots” (Mansfield, 135). Judging those who walk through the park by materialistic features accent Miss Brill’s infantile demeanor. This attitude is displayed when she negatively commented on all of the park visitors, “...Sunday after Sunday, and-Miss Brill had often noticed- there was something funny about nearly all of them. They were odd, silent, nearly all old…” (Mansfield, 136). These surface level inferences reflect her immaturity and ignorance. Mansfield developes a childlike character within Miss Brill, which serves to emphasize her insecurity. Because of this, the reader assumes she is unfair and judgemental, and condemns others for being innaporopriotely dressed and unoriginal to make her feel higher about herself. Miss Brill also assumes the condition of their home life and rank of status based on appearance, “...they looked as though they’d just come from dark little rooms or even-even cupboards!” (Mansfield, 136). Ironically, these inferences and offensive comments prove to be her secluded home life, “...she climbed up the stairs, went into the little dark room-her room like a cupboard-and sat down on the red eiderdown” (Mansfield, 137). Mansfield purposely…show more content…
The reader transitions from thinking Miss Brill is an optimistic, cheery woman who has a taste for judging others below her to discovering that she is lonesome and poor, seeking for an escape from her reality. It becomes apparent that the author pities the main character, and wants the readers to feel the same way. This way, the author can address the importance of being true to yourself, even though the world can be cruel; living in a generated fantasy may seem attractive, but reality is destined to strip dreams
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