AP Literature and Composition
October 24, 2014
“Putting the Pieces Together”
In Katherine Mansfield’s, ”Miss Brill”, the theme of loneliness stays constant throughout the old woman’s routine visit to the Gardens, a place where she feels worth and valuable. Her love of observation and living through other’s lives makes her oblivious to her surroundings. She thrives on Sundays because of the warmth and companionship given to her by the band and the stories she experiences through observation and intrusion. Through her eavesdropping and observations in the Garden Miss Brill comes to her moment of epiphany. Her life is full of nothing except for loneliness and a fur. At the beginning of the story, Miss Brill is introduced while stroking her fur. “Miss Brill put her hand up and touched her fur. Dear little thing! It was nice to feel it again. She had taken it out of its box that afternoon, shaken out the moth-powder, given it a good brush, and rubbed the life back into it’s dim little eyes,” (7-11). The fur signifies an old friend whom she hasn’t seen for a long while. By writing, “ It was so nice to feel it again,” Mansfield presents the first hint of loneliness. The word “It” indicates not the fur, but the sense of companionship. Her fur accompanies her to the Garden, as if it was a living domestic animal. One of Miss Brill’s reasons for attending the Gardens every Sunday is the band. “ It was like someone playing with only the family to listen; it didn’t care how it played if there weren’t any strangers present,” (28-30). She feels as if she was that family member they were playing to. When she listens to the band, the warmth and comfort she craves comes from the “Bandsmen sitting in the green rotunda,” (33). Both the fur and band alike provide Miss Brill with a temporary feeling of family and companionship. The old woman constantly listens in on people’s conversations. Mansfield describes her obsession in such a way that one could...
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