6 July 2010
“Miss Brill” Discuss
In Katherine Mansfield's “Miss Brill,” a middle-aged woman is confronted with the reality of being old. The story details her usual Sunday afternoon in the park, which she spends walking and sitting in the park, wearing an old but beloved fur. She sees the world as if it were a stage, and enjoys watching the people around her, often judging them condescendingly. However, she then overhears a young couple's cruel remark about herself, and the story ends with her realizing that she is not really needed in the busy world, and she thinks that she heard the fur crying. Mansfield's personification throughout the passage reveals a sense of loneliness belonging to Miss Brill for she not only fabricates a connection with the other park goers, but also personifies her inanimate piece of clothing by conversing with it as well as feeling for it. Major Motifs
• illusion versus reality
The Jardins Publiques (Public Gardens) in a French town on an early autumn Sunday afternoon is the setting for “Miss Brill.” The air is still, but there is a “faint chill, like a chill from a glass of iced water before you sip,” so Miss Brill is happy to have worn her fur stole. The stole, in accordance to the fashions of the times, was constructed so that its fake eyes and nose could be attached to its tail, securing it around the wearer’s neck. It is the first time she has worn it in a while. When preparing for her stroll in the park, she gives it a “good brush,” “[rubs] the life back into the dim little eyes,” and teasingly calls it her “little rogue.” Miss Brill watches the people in the park with delight. The band sounds “louder and gayer” to her than it has on previous Sundays. She listens to the concert from her “special’ seat” and is disappointed when the other two people seated there do not speak. Her favorite pastime on Sunday afternoon is to...
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