Miss Brill Commentary

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"Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield illustrates the story of a woman who goes out out on a Sunday afternoon and sees the world as a play, with everyone - and herself - acting out their roles. She wears a fur which the author mentions throughout the story, and Miss Brill’s realization of her loneliness is only shown at the end of the story as she takes it off. Mansfield employs the techniques of characterization, imagery, and motifs to express the theme of human alienation in society.
Mansfield uses the technique of characterization to express how the character Miss Brill is eccentric, judgmental, and in denial of herself, that she isn’t what she thinks she is. Miss Brill is characterized as jubilant, as she describes her fur as a "little
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Once they insult her fur, Miss Brill doesn’t express her feelings of alienation from society, but the description of her room added to her crying exhibits a significant change in mood from the beginning of the short story, when she was excited to spend her afternoon on the bench.

Miss Brill’s fur is a motif throughout the story, making significance as it is what Miss Brill puts on as her mask to go out and try to fit in. At the beginning, Miss Brill “had taken it out of its box that afternoon, shaken out the moth powder, given it a good brush, and rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes." Mansfield illustrates Miss Brill’s peppiness, and she is as happy to wear her own fur as she is to go out on her Sunday afternoons to take part in the play and act like she has a place in society; even though others don’t see her the same way she sees herself. She had previously described her fur as luxurious, admiring it, though the young girl she was admiring says ""It's her fu-ur which is so funny," … "It's exactly like a fried whiting."". Miss Brill thinks she’s a part of the play and has confidence when she wears the fur, but other characters don’t see the same way she does. Mansfield shows the reader that what Miss Brill thinks is not necessarily true, as the story is told in third person limited. Miss Brill’s mask that she puts on is her fur, and when she goes home, she turns back into the person she really is. Mansfield
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