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The Illusion Of Youth Essay

3705 words - 15 pages

Katherine Mansfield’s Miss. Brill written in 1920 is a short story a part of Mansfield’s The Garden Party and Other Stories. It is a short story about a middle-aged teacher, who finds joy in spending her Sunday afternoons, sitting in the park. At the park, she finds joy in observing others around her and pretending, they are all actors and actresses on a stage. Miss. Brill finds joy in the illusion that she creates at the park. She is a woman, who lives a very humdrum life and finds joy creating an unrealistic world, where she envisions herself as an actress. She uses illusion as not only an escape from her reality but also from herself. Miss. Brill creates an illusion in order to escape the reality that she is losing her youth.
Although, Miss. Brill is knowledgeable of the world, where she imagines that she isn’t really an actress, she continues to spend her Sunday afternoons in the park where she has created an unrealistic world for herself. In the illusion that Miss. Brill creates to escape the reality that she is losing her youth, she tries to preserve reminders of her youth such as the fur. During her afternoons, in the park, Miss. Brill chooses to wear her fur. The fur for her is a reminder of her past. It is a reminder of the days when she was younger. It makes her feel good to wear the fur because of the memories it brings back to her. She states, “Dear little thing! It was nice to feel it again” (Mansfield 1). She cherishes the fur and is very fond of it perhaps because of the memories she has created during the times when she wore it. The fur reminds her of her youth. It is the reason that she has kept it in her possession for so long. The fur is a symbol of her youth. She has managed to keep the fur despite aging. It is as if by wearing the fur, Miss. Brill somehow feels that she will be young again. The feeling of being young again is also an illusion that she has created because preserving the fur will not preserve her youth. The fur will not help Miss. Brill escape the reality she is losing her youth because she grows older regardless of how long she chooses to hang onto reminders of her past.
Miss. Brill also attempts to preserve the fur, keeping in good condition. “She had taken it out of its box that afternoon, shaken out the moth-powder, given it a good brush, and rubbed life back into the dim little eyes. Miss. Brill tries to keep the fur in the same condition as it was previously, when she was younger. It’s as if by her keeping the fur in the same condition as it once was in her youth, that she feels, she will also remain the same. She tries hard to maintain good condition of the fur because to her it is a piece of her youth, she is also preserving. She keeps the fur in a box like she is also trying to keep her youth there also.
Mansfield short story is written in the 1920s, a time when young women who were considerably fashionable wore furs like the one described in Miss. Brill. They wore furs as part of the 1920s...

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