Miss Brill and You'Re Ugly Too

Topics: Defence mechanism, Humor, Interpersonal relationship Pages: 3 (1282 words) Published: April 28, 2008
The protagonists of "Miss Brill" and "You're Ugly Too" share common occurrences related to their isolation. Both women are educators that are displaced from their place of origin: Miss Brill teaches English in France but is originally from New Zealand, and Zoe Hendricks is a history teacher in rural Illinois originally from the Northeast United States. Neither Miss Brill nor Zoe are able to build any kind of meaningful relationships with their students or peers. It is ambiguously illustrated in "Miss Brill" that Miss Brill does not relate to her students: "...She had a queer, shy feeling at telling her English pupils how she spent her Sunday afternoons" . It is more directly stated how Zoe relates to her students. "Once she had pampered her students, singing theme songs, letting them call her at home, even, and ask personal questions. Now she was losing sympathy. They were beginning to seem different" It is only implied in "Miss Brill" that the protagonist does not have any close friends, as all of her activities are done alone and with great attention to self. For Zoe, however, it is made very clear that she has no meaningful relationships. She had gone out on dates with local men, but they all ended in astrangement as she "came teo realize that all men, deep down, wanted Heidi," the ideal woman. The isolation caused by displacement and the lack of connection with the locals is the basis for isolation that both characters share, but the manner in how each character copes with isolation is completely different. Miss Brill copes with her isolation by completely deluding herself and ignoring that she is isolated. Every Sunday, Mis Brill emerges from her "room like a cupboard" to involve herself in as many lives as she possibly can. Miss Brills routine involves her strolling through the Jardins Publiques, listening to the band that plays under the gazebo, watching people, eavesdropping, and returning home after buying an almond cake. Miss Brill's primary activity...
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