Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield

578 Words3 Pages
Katherine Mansfield, in her short story "Miss Brill", slowly reveals the nature of her main character. She gradually divulges Miss Brill's personality, leading the reader to believe things about Miss Brill that are not true. Also, the point of view t t Mansfield uses enhances the story and adds to the reader's misinterpretation of Miss Brill until the end of the story. Miss Brill's character is a complex one. She cannot be stereotyped and she has a multifaceted personality. The reader sees several sides of her nature. Her almost mischievous side is revealed as the narrator tells how she waits for people to sit on r bench so that she might listen in on their conversations. This also reveals her need to be accepted. Further, her child like manner is exposed. This is done through the description of her Sunday ritual of buying a slice of honeycake and her excitem t when she discovers and almond inside. More importantly, however, to the complexity of her character is the fact that she has an epiphany. Miss Brill feels that everyone in the park has a unique bond. Mansfield writes, "They were all on the stage. They weren't only the audience, not only looking on; they were acting. Even she had a part and came every Sunday" (51). Miss Brill is obvio ly a lonely woman who feels the need to belong. The narrator speaks of Miss Brill's conception of the lives of the others who are regulars in the park. Other people sat on the benches and green chairs, but they were nearly always the same Sunday after Sunday, and--Miss Brill had often noticed--there was something funny about all of them. They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they sta d they looked as though they'd all just come from dark little rooms or even--even cupboards! (50-51) Miss Brill soon discovers that she is just like those people that she has been looking upon with pity. It is at this point in the story that Miss Brill experiences her painful epiphany. A pair of young lovers sit down on Miss Brill's bench. She becomes excited for she now has a conversation to listen in on. The boy wants to kiss the girl but the girl resists. The boy asks if it is because of the "stupid old thing on the end over th
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