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The Realities of Life

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  • March 30, 2008
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As humans, we base our lives around social interaction. We learn to live through various means of socialization from the time we are born. Without this socialization and interaction among each other, we can become very disillusioned and confused about society. One would tend to isolate ourselves; exiled in this place we call the world. In Katherine Mansfield’s short story “Miss Brill,” one such person, herself a kind of outcast of society, creates a fantasy world in which she is at the center. “Miss Brill” is the story of a woman battling with loneliness. She partakes in a ritual in which every Sunday she would spend the entire afternoon at the local park eavesdropping and observing the people around her. In her mind everyone around her is apart of her unadorned existence when in fact Miss Brill only sits alone seemingly frantically in search of companionship. She scorns anything and anyone that may cause her to realize the truth about her pathetic existence. The story conveys a message, expressed through the character of Miss Brill, that those who do not communicate with others but idealize them, and those who do not act in the real world lose touch with reality.

The character Miss Brill can be described a dreamer. The story starts, as she gets ready for her Sunday ritual in which she describes fur stole as a friend or companion instead of an object. Miss Brill lacks companionship that she desperately desires so in turn creates her own. When she returns home from her weekly outing she stops and gets what she calls her weekly treat of a piece of honey cake. She was even more excited with her treat if found an almond inside it. These were all things to make her humdrum life seem more important and exciting that it really was. This defines Miss Brill as an idealist, making everyone and everything around her seem alive and interesting. It seems like she is loosing a sense of reality and her idea of what is important in life is somewhat warped.

Miss Brill...