The Good Life
Who decides what a good life is? It is having loved ones around, having things, or just simply being happy with who or what we believe we are. These are questions that I thought of while reading Miss Brill. The story has many symbols that clearly point out that Miss Brill is an old maid without close contacts and thus she is all alone. She is an immigrant no one really knows, with the exception of her students and an elderly man she reads to. This makes Miss Brill a stranger in a strange land despite the fact that she speaks French. Another reason the reader can tell Miss Brill is alone stems from the title. It clearly states that she never been married and therefore has no family. There are many symbols in this story that point to Miss Brill being an old lady, who lives a mundane, routine existence all the while in her mind she is not that at all. We all live mostly routine lives. Today for instance I had oatmeal instead of my usual omelet. That was a nice change for me, such as the almond in the lemon cake is for Miss. Brill. It's mostly the little things that make the difference in routine. Miss. Brill's routine may not be thrilling but she goes to the park, she imagines other people's lives, teaches school and she gets lemon cake. Miss. Brill even dresses up in her best to go out to the park. She is proud of her stool and enjoys wearing it. The stool is old and fraying but Miss. Brill does not care she still wears it. She also imagines good things about the people in the park. Before the young couple insults her, she thinks they are "hero and heroine of course, just arrived from his father's yacht." (309). All of the people in the park lead happy lives. No one comes from a bad home or has a depressed life. If Miss Brill was depressed and didn’t like her life she would not give the characters in her play happy lives. She would not have dressed up to go out or imagined happy lives for everyone in the park. Depression is different from dull...
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