Miss Brill

1253 WordsFeb 24, 20056 Pages
THEME of "Miss Brill" In the story "Miss Brill," an old, lonely lady spends her Sunday observing people in a park. Although ignored by everyone around her, Miss Brill manages to convince herself that she is really an integral part of the scene and would be missed if she weren't there. Her illusion is shattered by a chance remark at the end of the story, and she returns home, clearly devastated by her new understanding of her place in life. What this story is trying to illustrate is that sometimes people can be happy through living in an illusion. However, this kind of happiness is fragile and can be easily destroyed. Unfortunately, modern society does not provide a place for everyone. Inevitably, there are those people, often…show more content…
"No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn't been there; she was part of the performance after all… Miss Brill nearly laughed out loud" (100). This realization eventually moves Miss Brill to tears. Being a part of something as full of life as the park scene gives her a sense of belonging. However, by this point in the story, the reader is aware that Miss Brill has deluded herself. Actually, no one at the park is even aware she's around, and the truth is that if she weren't there, no one would miss her at all. Happiness built on an illusion can only last so long. In the story, Miss Brill's happiness is shattered by a single chance remark when the young couple who she has cast as the hero and herione in her "play" casually insult her. "'Why does she come here at all--who wants her? Why doesn't she keep her silly old mug at home?" (138). The story does not tell us Miss Brill's personal reactions to this remark; instead, the point of view shifts so that we observe her actions as she goes home. However, these actions are enough to illustrate that her self-view has been destroyed. The first example of her change in perspective is when she fails to go into the bakery, the usual climax to the Sunday park visit. "But today she passed the baker's by, climbed the stairs, went into the little dark room--her room like a cupboard--and sat down on the red
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