Kelly M. Johnson
May 25, 2011
Microtheme 3- “Miss Brill”
An epiphany in fiction is when a character experience a moment of realization or insight. In this story “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield she discovers this. Miss Brill is a woman in denial about her age and how lonely she really is.
Miss Brill is a poor and lonely woman teaching student English in a foreign country. No make extra money, she reads to an elderly man, and entertains herself with free shows at the park on Sundays. On this particular Sunday in Mansfield story, she decided to wear her fur collar. This helps understand her age. When she takes out her fur, “shaken out the moth-powder, given it a good brushing, and rubbing the life back into its eyes.”(266) this shows that Miss Brill has had this fur for many years. It also could be one of her most prized possessions for her youth. Also when she asks the fur “what has been happening to me?” (266) she is asking herself the question. Of course she isn’t going to answer the question herself, so she talks to the fur, since it can’t answer back. As Miss Brill takes the fur out the box, she notices that “…but the nose, which was of some black composition, wasn’t at all firm.”(266) Noticing that the collar wasn’t firm like it used to be neither is she. She starts to notice a “tingling” sensation in her arms, but gives the excuse that it comes from walking, instead of her age.
While at the park, Miss Brill stops focusing on her fur and starts focusing on other people. Her doing this takes her mind off her own faults and loneliness. She was “sitting in other people lives” (267) and listened to them talk, which provided her endless entertainment. This also allowed her to ignore her own problems. Miss Brill also judge other women and their appearances, still ignoring the physical similarities between her and the women. She describes the women faces, eyes, and hair as “the same colour as the shabby ermine.”(268) which aren’t much...