Summary Of Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

1117 Words5 Pages
The Loneliness of the Spinster and Widower “The human brain is a complex organ with the wonderful power of enabling man to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever it is that he wants to believe.” ― Voltaire The short story “Miss Brill” is misleading and illusory. The author, Katherine Mansfield, uses third person limited to take readers along into Miss Brill, the protagonist’s, delusions. The story is set in the 1920’s France, on a nice Sunday afternoon. The tone starts out airy with anticipation as Miss. Brill gears up in her best fur for a day at the “Jardine Publiques”, as Mansfield calls it. Toward the end of the story, the façade brought on by Miss. Brills need to hide from her intolerable reality, breaks…show more content…
Brill’s deep sense of loneliness, she makes the reader work to understand the character’s hidden emotions. As Marian Mandel indicates in her analysis of “Miss Brill” in Studies in Short Fiction, “[w]whatever Miss Brill sees, she reduces to the parameters of her own contorted world” (475). Basically, because third person limited is used and all the descriptions are coming from Miss Brill herself. Careful reading is needed to catch what is real and what is just Miss Brill projecting her version of reality onto the reader. The fact that Miss. Brill is never directly addressed by none of the many people she came across on her day out is suspicious on its own. Secondly, she looks forward to reading to an old man and talking to her students about her day; but never actually mentions anyone her age or family members. Lastly, she enjoys to listening in on others conversations and silently criticizing strangers as demonstrated by Miss Brill wanting to “shake her"(168), while referring to a woman who was dissatisfied by any suggestion her husband made while discussing glasses the woman needed. Even surrounded by loads of people, she is more alone than ever Mansfield uses these aspects of Miss Brill’s character to send the message of total…show more content…
Miss Brill represents a terrifying fear people need to face every day of their lives, rejection. The most prominent form of rejection Miss Brill received during the course of this short essay is from a “beautifully dressed” young couple who sat on the bench next to her. “Why does she come here at all–– who wants her” (170) asks the boy while referring to Miss Brill, who could not have been more than a few feet from the couple. This is quite the blow to Miss Brill’s already quite delicate self-esteem. Just a page before she thought to herself, “No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn’t been there” (169). However, this good looking couple is questioning her place at the park. Mansfield’s brutal turn of events is also a way of making the feelings of rejection and insignificance more

    More about Summary Of Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

      Open Document