Book Analysis: Miss Brill

Topics: Anton Chekhov, Short story, Fiction Pages: 3 (1279 words) Published: February 2, 2014
"Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield illustrates the story of a woman who goes out out on a Sunday afternoon and sees the world as a play, with everyone - and herself - acting out their roles. She wears a fur which the author mentions throughout the story, and Miss Brill’s realization of her loneliness is only shown at the end of the story as she takes it off. Mansfield employs the techniques of characterization, imagery, and motifs to express the theme of human alienation in society. Mansfield uses the technique of characterization to express how the character Miss Brill is eccentric, judgmental, and in denial of herself, that she isn’t what she thinks she is. Miss Brill is characterized as jubilant, as she describes her fur as a "little rogue biting his tail just by her left ear. She could have taken it off and laid it on her lap and stroked it." Mansfield demonstrates from the beginning of the story Miss Brill’s attachment to her fur, showing her quirky nature as it isn’t the most normal thing to be excited about, especially since she mentions it throughout the story. When she sees the lady with the ermine toque, she comments on “her hair, her face, even her eyes, was the same color as the shabby ermine..." Mansfield description of her thoughts characterizes Miss Brill as judgmental, as she discusses all of the people who sit on the bench beside her and imagines their daily lives based on their appearance. She doesn’t realize until the end of the story that they are doing the same to her, and Mansfield uses her realized reality to exhibit human’s judgmental nature. Miss Brill tries to be a part of the play, but she knows that she’ll never have the same connection with other people as she sees. As she experiences her Sunday, Mansfield illustrates Miss Brill’s ignorance of her own sadness as "not sadness-a something that made you want to sing.". Miss Brill turns a blind eye to her melancholy, and never wants to reveal or acknowledge her sadness. Mansfield...

Bibliography: Mansfield, Katherine. "Miss Brill." The Garden Party, and Other Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1922. pp. 182-289
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