Symbolism in Miss Brill

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Symbolism in Miss Brill Katherine Mansfield provides readers with a few examples of symbolism in her popular short story, “Miss Brill”. While reading this story, an individual may not think the bench, cake, or fur is significant by any means. However, these items play a crucial role in expressing the symbolism of Mansfield’s story. The author has done a wonderful job using symbolism to show how Miss Brill’s loneliness causes her emotional harm and discomfort. The following paragraphs will explain how symbolism is being expressed through the meaning of the bench, cake, and fur in the story. First off, the bench plays a vital role in the symbolism of this short story. Miss Brill spends a lot of her time on the bench at the park. She sits on the bench hoping to have a conversation with the people who also enjoy that same seat on the bench. In the text, Mansfield writes, “Only two people shared her “special” seat: a fine old man in a velvet coat, his hands clasped over a huge carved walking-stick, and a big old woman, sitting up-right, with a roll of knitting on her embroidered apron.” (286) They never spoke and this was disappointing for Miss Brill because she, “…always looked forward to the conversation.” (286) Therefore, the bench represents hope that something Miss Brill expects is going to happen in the near future. Miss Brill never has a conversation with anyone on the bench, and this causes her to feel down and lonesome. However, she never sees the bench as a symbol of disappointment in the story. Next, the cake in this story is very important part of the symbolism. In the story, Miss Brill is known for getting a cake every Sunday to enjoy. However, she decides not to get a cake on this Sunday in the story. On this Sunday, she and the fur she wears were insulted by someone. Instead of getting a cake, she decides to go home and mope about being

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