Themes in Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield

Powerful Essays
Topics: Old age, Middle age
Themes in Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield

Abstract: Fiction interpretation contributes to a more sufficient understanding and profound appreciation of literary works for readers. Miss Brill, a short story written by Katherine Mansfield, describes an afternoon in the life of a middle-aged spinster who visits the public park on a weekly basis, leading to her reassessment of her view of the world and the secular reality. Though short in form, it is really worth detailed interpretation and appreciation. This paper will mainly deal with the themes it conveys.

Keywords: Miss Brill, themes, loneliness, acceptance, belonging, estrangement, the elderly

1. Introduction

Miss Brill is one of Katherine Mansfield’s most popular stories published in her 1922 collection of stories entitled The Garden Party and Other Stories. The story is the typical style of Mansfield due to its application of a stream-of-consciousness narrative in which Miss Brill’s character is vividly and depicted through her psychological change when spending her Sunday afternoon on the park bench listening to the band playing and observing the crowd. It begins with Miss Brill’s happy and excited preparation of wearing her prized fur stole and scarf for her regular trip to the pier. Her excitement continues when she is sitting on the bench in the bustling park filled with people, enjoying the warm afternoon, listening to the band’s loud and gay playing and observing different people astutely. Miss Brill considers this scene to be a play, in which she and all other people in the park are characters involved, all perfectly interacting to form an idyllic backdrop for her studies of human nature. She believes herself to be an active and vital actress in this play while to a young couple who make a flippant comment on her, she is just “that stupid old thing” and is not wanted at all. Consequently, her vivacious mood and illusion has been totally and cruelly shattered. She then leaves the park,

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    In the story, "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield we see the main idea of "Miss Brill" suffering from the pain of loneliness, and her attempts to experience life through the experiences of total stranger that actually reflects her life. Miss Brill life is not told to you straight but is revealed slowly by the example given from the story. We see Miss Brill seeking for love and compassion by her rubbing her fur tenderly and taking good care of the fur" rubbed the life into the dim little eyes" (p…

    • 479 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Katherine Mansfield story, “Miss Brill” states the idea of loneliness. A woman was living alone; the only thing she did to feel alive was going out to the park each Sunday. She used to go to the park to watch band singing, people laughing, kids running and couples talking. One day she saw a young couple, she was very excited to listen to their stories. However, they described her as an old woman who should stay at home. Miss Brill got very depressed; as a result, she decided to go home. Mansfield…

    • 278 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In "Miss Brill," Katherine Mansfield shows us a view of a first seemingly young or vibrant woman whom enjoys her Sunday afternoons. The setting of the park tells an accounting of the repetitive social interactions of the same people or “actors” as Miss Brill fantasizes them. The story begins with the façade of a possibly young woman scoffing the boring acts of the “old” people around her. Really Miss Brills accounting of her environment is a sad attempt to transform the conversations and events…

    • 875 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    C Character Analysis of Miss Brill In the short story “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield, the author uses various ways to fully characterize Miss Brill, and in doing so reveals the many sides and complexity of her character. It is difficult to understand Miss Brill because she does not understand herself. Miss Brill's given name is never mentioned since she has no friends who would use it. However, at the beginning of the story she is blissfully happy with her life and situation. She has…

    • 578 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    know what the characters think, feel, or why they are doing the things they are doing. In limited point of view the narrator is only aware of one character and that characters thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. In the story “Miss Brill” written by Katherine Mansfield the narration is third person point-of-view limited.…

    • 473 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Better Essays

    Miss Brill 1.Characterize Miss Brill. Which details in the text suggest what her life is like? Why are her Sunday trips to the park important to her? + Miss Brill, the short story by Mansfield, is filled with significant detals that allow the reader to have some insight into her true character and lifestyle. One of the most glaring is when she goes to the park and starts to imagine that she is somehow interconnected and involved in the people's lives that she sees around her. In this way we can see…

    • 969 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill”, the story takes place in a town in France, where the protagonist – an older woman by the name of Miss Brill, lives near the “Jardins Publiques”; which means “Public Gardens.” Miss Brill is an English teacher that listens in on conversations to fill the emptiness and loneliness that she experiences in her own life. She especially enjoys going to the gardens on Sundays because there is a live band that plays and there are typically many more people present. This…

    • 491 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Katherine Mansfield?s ?Miss Brill? is a deep illustration of delusional thinking when one is deprived of emotional human bonds. This short story paints a picture of an elderly woman, Miss Brill, who believes life is a walk in the park, until a couple leads her to believe life is not all fantasy. Although this tale develops gradually, Miss Brill undergoes a drastic transformation at the tale?s end. The change that Miss Brill is forced to undergo is understandable through symbolism, characterization…

    • 444 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Every author is blessed with a writing prowess and enigmatic writing styles that differentiates the author from the rest of the lot. Renowned author, Katherine Mansfield has made a name for herself amongst the literary crowd and this literary work, "Miss Brill”, is one of the finest works of the author. Talking about her early age, she was born and brought in the lush greenery of Wellington, New Zealand, to humble parents. The upbringing was very modest and close to nature and that is clearly evident…

    • 1562 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    Katherine Mansfield

    • 1546 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Katherine Mansfield Katherine Mansfield, who lived from 1888 to 1923, is considered to be one of the most remarkable short story writers of her time. Using her life experiences as an inspiration for her short stories, Mansfield sculpted her ideas into masterful pieces of literary work. Mansfield 's life was full of interesting experiences that shaped her outlook upon life. The diversity of friends and acquaintances Katherine Mansfield had over her lifetime also had a great influence on her career…

    • 1546 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays