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Essay on Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

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As humans, much of our lives are based around social interaction. We are taught to live through various means of socialization from the time of our birth . Without this socialization and interaction among each other we can become very disillusioned and confused about how to function as a part of society. One would tend to isolate ourselves, exiled in this place we call the world. In Katherine Mansfield’s short story “Miss Brill,” one such person, herself a kind of outcast of society, creates a fantasy world in which she is at the center. “Miss Brill” is the story of a woman battling with loneliness. She partakes in a ritual in which every Sunday she would spend the entire afternoon at the local park eavesdropping and observing the people…show more content…
In an attempt to make her life seem more important and extravagant than it really is, one can understand furthermore Brill’s pathetic nature. This defines Brill’s character as one of an idealist, making everyone and everything seem alive and interesting. She seems to be loosing a sense of reality and her idea what is important is somewhat warped.
Miss Brill intricately observes every little detail of the happenings around her illustrating the extent to which she has lost a grasp on reality. She makes note of everything from attire and attitudes, to body language and actions. Brill takes a kind of pride in her ability to eavesdrop. “They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they’d just come from dark little rooms or even - little cupboards!” (Mansfield 99). Miss Brill excludes herself from the rest of the people. Even when elderly people come into view, she quickly distances herself from them as though different when in fact she too is old and resides in a cupboard of her own. Brill associates and relates herself to only the younger and more attractive people. The people which society deems the most acceptable. “Now everything, her hair, her face, even her eyes , was the same color as the shabby ermine, and her hand, in its cleaned glove, lifted to dab her lips, was a tiny yellowish paw. Oh, she was so pleased to see him- delighted!” (Mansfield 98) Miss Brill describes her and her
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