Review And Character Analysis Of Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

1041 words - 4 pages

The character, Miss Brill, lives in a fantasy world that hides her aging and loneliness. Throughout the story denial of the character is depicted through her actions and interactions with others. Miss Brill spends her Sunday afternoon seated on a park bench. She watches others around her and pretends that they are all actors in a play; this vividly expresses Miss Brill's fantasy and denial, as do other importances in the story. In, "Miss Brill", Mansfield creates an elderly character that lives in a fantasy world.

Miss Brill is a character of familiarity and routine. Each Sunday she spends the afternoon in the park watching and listening in on others lives. Knowing the details and flaws in others, as well as her surroundings, boosts her self esteem. The band and the scenery play a larger role in the life of Miss Brill. Throughout the story, the band's tempo and speed is mentioned: "And the band changed again and played more quickly, more gaily than ever" (273). In the fantasy life of Miss Brill, the band plays the roll of an accessory in her play: "Wasn't the conductor wearing a new coat, too? She was sure it was new." (271). Miss Brill does not personally know the conductor of the band, but she notices something as simple as his new coat. This shows how familiar Miss Brill is with the band. Familiarity is something Miss Brill strives for throughout the entire story, and this is most evident when she talks about the band and the scenery of "her play."

Miss Brill shares her Sunday seat, "her special seat," with only two other people. (271). This couple reflects Miss Brill in a way that she also sits there as still as a statue. The old couple that sat on the other end of the bench were as "still as statues" (271). She was upset that there was no conversation between them. She enjoyed "listening as though she didn't listen, and sitting in other people's lives just for a minute while they talked round her" (271). But the old couple did not move; much less speak to each other. Miss Brill then started spectating the people around her and judging every little thing they did. This made her happy, which opened the gate to her fantasy world.

Miss Brill and the Ermine Toque are two old ladies that are lonely and searching for life. Miss Brill goes to the park every Sunday and sits on the same bench by herself. She is alone on the bench eavesdropping and judging all the people that pass by. The Ermine Toque meets up with a man in the park and "so pleased to see him" . . . (272). "But he shook his head, lighted a cigarette, slowly breathed a great puff into her face" (272). She was left standing alone just like Miss Brill. Yet she kept smiling, then waved to someone else and went on about her business. Miss Brill and the Ermine Toque do not get upset or sad because they do not want unhappy feelings in...

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