Symbolism In Miss Brill, By Katherine Mansfield

1143 WordsJun 20, 20185 Pages
Miss Brill is a short fiction story written by Katherine Mansfield, which was first published in November 1920 in Athenaeum, an English literary magazine and then in Mansfield’s The Garden Party & Other Stories. The story takes place during a Sunday afternoon as an elderly woman enjoys her weekly visit to a French park. She enjoys watching others and sitting in on their lives, while the band plays in the gazebo. This story, written in the third person omniscient point of view, is told with a stream-of-consciousness narrative, as Miss Brill is revealed through her thoughts about others. Through the use of symbolism and imagery, Mansfield shows the psychological complexity of her character’s experiences of everyday life and the loneliness…show more content…
By doing so, she feels like she is a part of the crowd and its activities; she finally feels included. She strongly believes that, just like she would notice if someone were missing, she would be missed if she didn’t come to the park one Sunday: “Even she had a part and came every Sunday. No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn’t been there; she was part of the performance after all” (Mansfield, par. 9). She twists her perception of the scene and fancies herself being an actress. The park becomes a stage and the crowd a cast with whom she has a connection. By acting as if she is a part of the “community” of the park, Miss Brill escapes her own loneliness and rejection. In fact, she almost imagines that her fur is a pet, as she considers that “she could have taken it off and laid it on her lap and stroked it” (Par. 1). She uses her active imagination as a way to get overcome the sadness of her days. Also, while she is observing the other people sitting on the benches of the park, she describes them as “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 – even cupboards” (Par. 5). She doesn’t realize that she is looking into a mirror; they are just like her, trying to find a way to belong by examining people in their lives, eager to be a part of it. She creates a distorted perception of reality to avoid the unpleasantness of her life but unwittingly sets herself up
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