Analysis Of Katherine Mansfield 's Miss Brill

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Psychological Portrait of Self-Destruction in Katherine Mansfield’s Miss Brill
In “Miss Brill,” Katherine Mansfield tells the story of an elderly woman’s fantasy and role among the world until it is depicted from a young couple bringing her down to reality. Mansfield uses sense imagery and Miss Brill’s perspective on the world rather than her own thoughts of herself, but portrays psychological portraits of self-destruction from Miss Brill’s fantasy world. Mansfield uses self-destruction to symbolize the character of Miss Brill by sitting in on others conversation, seeing the setting as a play, and realizing how the world actually is. When the reader understand the fantasies of Miss Brill, then they will begin to understand that her
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As Mariam Mandel says, “we see not only what Miss Brill sees, but we see how she sees”, meaning Mansfield’s perspective of Miss Brill is very limited and focused mainly on how Miss Brill sees the world rather than herself. The people around the park seemed to amuse Miss Brill as she saw them as “odd, silent, and nearly all old” as if they lived in little dark rooms; this is seen as a foreshadowing moment for Miss Brill, but she just hasn’t realized it yet. Again, dehumanizing the people calling the little girls as French dolls, the people on the benches as statues, and using single colors to describe soldiers and young girls. Miss Brill then begins to realizes that the people and the park where more than just people in a park, for she had a purpose of being at the park every Sunday at the same time.
The psychological effects continue on and Mansfield’s character mustn’t be late for her own performance in her little play at the park. Mansfield created Miss Brill to make the world a “cozy” and “safe” place for herself in the terminology of Welty’s. She diminishes the world and transforms a real live human scenery at the park into a set scene in a play as if all the people were on stage and acting. Mansfield’s character subjectively believes the music of the band is played based off the other characters emotions: “the band seemed to know what the woman wearing the ermine torque was feeling”, provided Mandel with more obvious proof that the sense of imagery is reductive.

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