Physical Appearances In Short Stories

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Many characters’ appearances in stories define them before they even speak. Similar to when people judge one another based on their clothing, the audience of a story makes assumptions about the characters by what they wear. However, the characters’ clothing does much more than convey information about the wearer: it sets the scene, interacting and blending with the setting to create cohesion. Memoirs of a Geisha, “Miss Brill,” Suits, and Hannibal all portray central characters whose descriptions and clothing accomplish artistic storytelling. In these stories, physical appearances and clothing choices do not merely reflect the characters; they define them, revealing key personal and social values and rules as well as social values and rules.…show more content…
When referring to a shabby looking woman, Miss Brill thinks, “Now everything, her hair, her face, even her eyes, was the same colour as the shabby ermine, and her hand, in its cleaned glove, lifted to dab her lips, was a tiny yellowish paw” (Mansfield 186). She refers to the aged woman as the “ermine toque” as she believes that the woman was once beautiful like the once new toque. However, now the woman has a faded beauty and is unkempt, much like the faded and uncared for toque. As such, Miss Brill draws a parallel between the woman and what she is wearing, assuming that the “ermine toque” cares less and less about her appearance and is unaware of her own faults which are reflected in her ermine toque. Conversely, Miss Brill describes the young boy and girl as “beautifully dressed; they were . . . the hero and heroine” (Mansfield 188). Characterizing the young couple as the hero and heroine, Miss Brill believes them to be the stars of her play, as they are the most visually appealing characters. Furthermore, due to their well-dressed appearances, Miss Brill immediately believes that they are of the wealthy upper class, refined and

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