Miss Brill Character Analysis

Length: 3 Pages 847 Words

In the 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. She tries to make her life more interesting by listening in on other people’s conversations. Miss Brill’s fur symbolizes what her life is and has become. It is through her fur that she begins to understand what her life really is like, even though she wants to deny it. Throughout the story readers are able to understand the loneliness that Miss Brill feels which makes it easier to understand why she lives her life in denial. In the beginning of this story, Miss Brill seems to be a part of the upper class and enjoys her Sunday afternoons in the Jardins Publiques. However Miss Brill enjoys her time in the gardens for reasons that go beyond the casual conversation and social aspects of the Sunday gatherings. Miss Brill looks forward to the conversations of other people in the garden because she feels as though she is sitting in on their lives for just a moment. She lives through the lives of other people. She feels as if her own life is disappoint Continue...


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Miss Brill's imagination shows that she is isolated from the real world and wants to make her life seem like it has more value. As Miss Brill observes the people in the gardens she makes the assumption that some of them were odd, silent, nearly all old, and looked like they were from little dark rooms or even cupboards. As a developing character Miss Brill is forced to face reality of who she is, where she came from, and what others think of her. Likewise Miss Brill will not likely go out to the gardens anymore. In the past she would ignore the feeling and focus on other peoples life, but this Sunday she had to face reality. She has been put in a box and the lid has been closed, just like the box that the fur has been placed in. The fur only comes out of its box on Sundays and Miss Brill spends a lot of time making sure that it looks perfect. ing so she tries to be a part of someone else's life for a moment. At this point in the story Miss Brill is finally forced to realize who she is and what others think of her. Miss Brill wants her life to be more exciting so she imagines that the scene in the garden is really a huge play and that she is an actress. She is giving the fur the love and compassion that she feels like she is missing in her life. When the boy refers to her as the stupid old thing that no one wants reality "sinks in. Miss Brill pets and strokes the fur while she sits in the park. When the girl in the park refers to the fur as a fried whiting it hurts Miss Brill so much because it is almost as if she is referring to her as that.