Miss Brill Theme

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Dermot depicts the theme of the short story as it being in a sense of paralysis due to the lack of movement and action in Miss Brill’s life. Miss Brill attempts to “escape into a fantasy world” because she does not want to face the reality of what her life truly is. However, even though she does not attempt to interact with the other characters by conversating, there is a different kind of connection made through eavesdropping and developing opinions of her surroundings. There are certain elements in the story that mirror Miss Brill’s life and lonesome environment. The old fur coat mirrors her life in various ways and in the end is returned to its dark box just as Miss Brill returns to her lonely home. The reader can further empathize with…show more content…
The reader is encouraged to share Miss Brill’s perceptions due to the third-person limited omniscient point of view. Miss Brill has resorted to a “fragile fantasy” in which her surroundings are a performance and she is the audience because she prefers this to live in the self-pity her life would bring her. Although she does not know anyone she characterizes the people at the park through their appearance and actions. Through her observations and judgement, she unconsciously identifies with the minor characters around her. However, Miss Brill has many complications; she suppresses the sadness of her life just beneath the surface, and just when it seems she is on the verge of self-acceptance the adolescents insult her beloved fur. Instead of touching the readers hearts in a sentimental way, Mansfield managed to tap into our fears.
I was surprised with Richard Nordguist’s perspective on the short story because he seemed to take a different meaning from it than I did. Towards the end of this review he states that Miss Brill was amidst of self-discovery when she was let down and after thinking back on the story I can agree. Nordguist suggests that just like Miss Brill, we also fear of being “laughed off the stage” and I plan to integrate that idea into my paper. I really enjoyed reading this review because it gave me a deep and distinct viewpoint on this short story which will help me add thoughts and ideas to my
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