Miss Brill Essay

474 Words2 Pages
In Katherine Mansfield’s story “Miss Brill” the author uses words to distract and conjure up images that are obscure to reality. The author uses kind vocabulary to fit the personality of Miss Brill: oblivious, joyful, sensitive, and observant. She protects Miss Brill’s sensitive nature but also softens her sorrow when she comes face to face with reality. We are shown Miss Brill’s tentative and “sweet” side when she takes so much care in her fur. Mansfield makes Miss Brill seem childlike by using words like little, gentle, pretty, and bright. She expresses an old lady’s excitement by making the scene around her seem inviting and busy when in reality it isn’t. Mansfield’s words distract you by making you believe Miss Brill’s happier view of things. While we may believe Miss Brill is content with her surroundings, Mansfield drops clues that reveal the truth about dear old Miss Brill. Miss Brill is lonely, delusional, ignorant, and oblivious. Mansfield shows us glimpses of this side of her main character by describing how good she is at listening in on other people’s conversations without appearing to be doing so. Also how she randomly tells a park goer of her “long” career as an actress or the way she extensively believes everyone is part of a play. Most of all the way she feels almost hopeful and certain that everyone would notice her absence were she to miss. Words like: fascinating, exactly, exciting, no doubt, strange, queer, and gently all express Miss Brill’s thought process on her sunday “plays”. Though Miss Brill does seem to be a bit queer Mansfield doesn’t let her lose all rationality. The lesson “Respect your elders” unfortunately does not get used on Miss Brill and it gives her a rude awakening. Old, stupid, thing, silly, fur, funny, fried, these words cut Miss Brill deeply and shock her out of her ignorant bliss. Mansfield does not go the obvious
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