Essay about Katherine Mansfield's Miss Brill

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Illusion vs. Reality in Miss Brill "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield is set the Jardins Publiques in France. Every Sunday Miss Brill looks forward to getting dressed up and visiting the park, where she enjoys people watching. Her weekly visits to the park are undoubtedly the highlight of her week, bringing her great joy and satisfaction. There are many illusions in this story, in this essay I intend to show three different illusions Miss Brill uses to make herself happy and how her reality is shattered at the end of the story by a chance remark. Miss Brill's first illusion is her fur, which she thinks of as being alive. Mansfield writes, "Dear little thing! ...and rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes. `What has been…show more content…
Miss Brill soon observes a lady and a gentleman having a brief encounter in the park, and she imagines what is being said on between the couple. Through this encounter one sees that Miss Brill is living vicariously through the people in the park to fulfill her loneliness. Miss Brill's voyeurism leaves her feeling as though she has interactions with these people; this, in turn, leaves her happy and fulfilled. The truth is she is a very lonely person looking to fill her time in the park with imagined relationships. Miss Brill's third illusion is that she thinks of herself as "an actress"(123) in a play. This illusion gives Miss Brill great pleasure and exhilaration, as she thinks, "They were all on stage... they were acting" (123) and that she is "An Actress"(123), which is an important part of her illusion. Mansfield writes, "Who could believe the sky at the back wasn't painted?"(123). This statement leads readers to believe that Miss Brill thinks of the sky and the park as the set of the play. She believes that the all of the park patrons "weren't only the audience"(123) but also the actors in a great play. Miss Brill even sees a dog that happens to be walking across the park as a " `theater' dog. She also believes that "somebody would have noticed if she hadn't been there" (123) for her Sunday performance, and that she would be greatly missed. In actuality she is not an actress in a play but one of the many people enjoying the park.
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