The Characterization Of Miss Brill In Miss Brill By Katherine Mansfield

836 words - 3 pages

In the Bedford Introduction to Literature, Characterization is defined as "... the process by which a writer makes that character seem real to the reader"(2126). In order to do this a writer has multiple tools at their disposal that add to the depth of a character and simplify roles in a story. This includes the use of Protagonists and Antagonists, static and dynamic characters, showing and telling, and motivated and plausible action, as well as many others. The short story "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield is no exception to this and displays the main character of Miss Brill as the protagonist, who is confronted with the reality of her existence.

In order to bring us closer to Miss Brill, Mansfield uses the technique of showing, by which she lets the reader infer what sort of character Miss Brill is simply by the descriptions and dialogue of the environment around her. This is opposed to the method of Telling, in which the author make comments and evaluates the protagonist's actions for the reader.

Mansfield also writes the story "Miss Brill" with Miss Brill having motivated action, in which she describes and gives reasons for all the little things that make her tick. This is essential for the reader to understand her views upon life and emotions, for example "On her way home she usually bought a slice of honey-cake at the baker's. It was her Sunday treat. Sometimes there was an almond in her slice, sometimes not. It made a great difference. If there was an almond it was like carrying home a tiny present - a surprise - something that might very well not have been there. She hurried on the almond Sunday's and struck the match for the kettle in a dashing way" (Mansfield 261). By saying this it becomes clear that Miss Brill draws a great deal of enjoyment from such a simple pleasure, which greatly adds to the feeling of the story when immediately after she states "But today she passed the baker's by..." (Mansfield 261) a sign of how much she has been hit by the realization of what she is. This is also a nice example of the fore mentioned method of showing, allowing the reader to draw the conclusion of the situation alone.

One of the most vital elements of the story though is the classification of Miss Brill as a dynamic character. Being a dynamic character entail that the knowledge...

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