“Miss artil” In the short story of “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield, Miss Brill is a lonely, old woman who sits in a park and waits for people to come near so she can listen in on their conversations. She becomes so caught up in the conversations of others and the world around her that it makes her forget about her own loneliness. But sadly, it also distorts the image she has of the world around her. The first encounter of this is in the beginning of the story when she pulls out the fur in the box and “rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes”.
Miss Brill makes this inanimate object personified by giving it a voice when it says “What has been happening to me? “. This object is a key part in the story because she keeps it with her like her little “side-kick” because she has no one else to talk with. Because she has no one else to interact with, she feeds off of other people’s conversations, relationships, and behaviors. The little fur pelt symbolizes the only friend that she has. While Miss Brill listens to the other people and couples around her, her reactions nd emotions towards the people and their conversations are used to characterize her.
When Miss Brill mentions the old couple that “shared her “special” seat”, she describes them “as though theyd Just come from… cupboards” meaning they are like dishes in a cabinet that come out only every once in a while when they are needed. She thinks of this couple as old, forgotten people that only show up on Sundays for the band and to hear them play. But, it is ironic because at the end of the story, Miss Brill tells the reader that instead of going to the bakery, she goes home to “her room ike a cupboard”, symbolizing that she is also like a dish in a cabinet, forgotten, and only comes out when needed.
The band in the park symbolizes the situations Miss Brill observes. With every character she sees, she also talks about the band and the way they are playing. At the beginning of the story, Miss Brill sees that “There were a number of people out this afternoon… more than last Sunday. And the band sounder louder and gayer. ” When Miss Brill observes the ermine toque, she meets with a man right in front of her. She talks about how pleased the woman seemed to be for meeting him, but he ejected her and “shook his head, lighted a cigarette, slowly breathed a… uff into her face… and walked on. ” Miss Brills describes the band and how they must have “know[n] what she was feeling and played more softly, played tenderly’. Miss Brill uses the band to connect with the emotions of the characters she observes and tell how they are feeling by what situation she is seeing. Mansfield also characterizes Miss Brill by having her realize who she actually is. She uses irony at the end of the story when Miss Brill goes into her “little dark room- er room like a cupboard”.
By showing how Miss Brill lives when she does go home, makes her realize that she is Just like the couple she observed in the park. And when she puts her little fur pelt back into the box that she took it out of at the beginning of the story, she thinks she “heard something crying. ” But the crying is her, not the fur. By the end of the story, the reader almost feels sorry for Miss Brill because she finally realizes that she is nothing like she imagines herself. In fact, Miss Brill is entirely a lonely, old woman.