Miss Brill


Miss Brill

Miss Brill is a short story by Katherine Mansfield, born as Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp (1888-1923) [1] It was first published in the Athenaeum on 26 November 1920, and later reprinted in The Garden Party and Other Stories.[2]


Contents

Plot summary

The story is about Miss Brill, a middle-aged English teacher living by the Jardins Publiques, the Public Gardens, in a French town. The story begins by Miss Brill "deciding on her fur[...] dear little thing! It was nice to feel it again."[3] The fur is something very dear to her, as she rubs the fur, seeming to put life into the eyes. It follows her on a regular Sunday afternoon in the park, which she spends walking and sitting in the park. She sees the world as a play, if it were a stage, and enjoys watching the people around her, often judging them condescendingly and eavesdropping on the strangers. The reader learns that Miss Brill's life must be unfilled and this is how she develops her pride.[4] When she arrives at the park, she notices that there are more people than last Sunday, and the band is especially louder because the Season had commenced. Sitting next to her on the bench was an elderly couple. Their lack of conversation disappointed Miss Brill because she enjoys, "sitting in other people's lives just for a minute while they talked round her.[5] Watching others in the park, she notices that most of the people that sit on the benches are the same; the people are elderly, silent, and appear as though they have come from a small dark place. A woman drops her violet roses, only to be picked up and returned by a young boy. The woman proceeds to dispose of them, and Miss Brill does not know if that is to be well-regarded. After the elderly couple left the bench, Miss Brill seemed to believe that even she took part in the play as she attended every Sunday. Beginning to daydream about how she reads to an elderly man four times a week, she plays a scenario in her mind with the man. She visions that he would no longer sleep through the stories as he normally does once he realized he was an actress, and he would become engaged and excited. Continuing her idea of the play as the band played a new song, she visioned everybody in the park taking part in the song and singing, and she begins to cry at the thought of this. A young couple sit on the bench where the elderly couple had been before. Miss Brill believes they are nicely dressed and she is prepared to listen. As she does, she hears the boy make a rude remark about her being a "stupid old thing", and the girl responds, "It's her fu-fur which is so funny,"[6] which hurts Miss Brill terribly because of her love of her fur. On her way home, a typical Sunday would involve the purchase of cake at the bakery, but instead she went home into her own dark room. As she quickly put her fur back in its box, she hears a cry, this cry is Miss Brill. The reason why the story says, "she thinks she hears a cry"[7] is because Miss Brill does not want to accept that she is the one crying, or accept herself for that matter. Mansfield's personification throughout the passage reveals a sense of loneliness belonging to Miss Brill for she not only fabricates a connection with the other park goers, but also personifies her inanimate piece of clothing by conversing with it as well as feeling for it.

Symbolism

  • Fur-She refers to the fur as a "rogue" which is ironic that she is very attached to this garment. A rogue is an adventurer which she lacks in her life. It is also a male, which she does not have in her life either. The fur lives a similar story as she does, living in a dark small room, getting hit in the nose as she did when the boy made the rude remark about her, and when returning to the box, crying for its destruction, and Miss Brill crying for her hurt soul.[8]
  • Ermine toque-The nice fur has now decayed and withered. This fur is similar to those sitting on the benches at the park, and Miss Brill herself.[9]
  • Orchestra-Her emotions are reflective of the gaiety of the songs played by the orchestra. The orchestra mostly plays throughout Miss Brill's entire park experience. It is her that ranges in emotions, like the many genres the orchestra must have played. This was the trimming on judge's robes in Europe, and a sign of honor and purity. [10]

Major Motifs

  • loneliness
  • illusion versus reality
  • rejection
  • isolation
  • play
  • theme

Literary significance

The text is written in the modernist mode, third-person limited point of view, without a set structure.

Footnotes

  1. ^ Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau, ed (2005). [<http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/LitCrit?dd=0&locID=tamp44898&d1=TCLC_164_0004&srchtp=b&c=1&df=f&docNum=FJ2672050004&b0=Miss+Brill&vrsn=1.0&srs=ALL&b1=KE&d3=16&ste=10&d4=0.50&stp=DateDescend&n=10&tiPG=0>. "Katherine Mansfield"]. galenet.galegroup.com. <http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/LitCrit?dd=0&locID=tamp44898&d1=TCLC_164_0004&srchtp=b&c=1&df=f&docNum=FJ2672050004&b0=Miss+Brill&vrsn=1.0&srs=ALL&b1=KE&d3=16&ste=10&d4=0.50&stp=DateDescend&n=10&tiPG=0>.. Retrieved 23October 2011. 
  2. ^ Katherine Mansfield, Selected Stories, Oxford World's Classics, explanatory notes
  3. ^ Wright, Richard (2011). ”The Man Who Was Almost a Man”. Bedford/ St. Martin’s. p. 883. 
  4. ^ {cite web|url=<http://rereadinglives.blogspot.com/2010/05/miss-brill-by-katherine-mansfield.html>.|title=Miss Brill|work=The Reading Life|accessdate=23October 2011}}
  5. ^ Wright, Richard (2011). ”The Man Who Was Almost a Man”. Bedford/ St. Martin’s. p. 883. 
  6. ^ Wright, Richard (2011). ”The Man Who Was Almost a Man”. Bedford/ St. Martin’s. p. 883. 
  7. ^ Wright, Richard (2011). ”The Man Who Was Almost a Man”. Bedford/ St. Martin’s. p. 883. 
  8. ^ Peter Thorpe. [<http://www.jstor.org/stable/373778>. "Teaching Miss Brill"]. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/373778>.. 
  9. ^ Peter Thorpe (2005-05-08). [<http://www.jstor.org/stable/373778>. "Teaching Miss Brill"]. jstor.com. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/373778>.. Retrieved 23October 2011. 
  10. ^ Peter Thorpe (2005-05-08). [<http://www.jstor.org/stable/373778>. "Teaching Miss Brill"]. jstor.com. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/373778>.. Retrieved 23October 2011. 

References


External links



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brill Tramway — Manning Wardle engine Huddersfield at Quainton Road in the late 1890s with the Wotton Tramway s passenger coach of the mid 1870s, an 1895 Oxford Aylesbury Tramroad passenger coach, and a goods wagon loaded with milk cans Locale Aylesbury Va …   Wikipedia

  • Miss Ba — (The Barretts of Wimpole Street) est un film britannique réalisé par Sidney Franklin, sorti en 1957. Il est un re make de The Barretts of Wimpole Street de 1934, du même réalisateur[1]. Les deux films sont basés sur la pièce homonyme de Rudolf… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lady Miss Kier — Infobox musical artist | Name = Lady Miss Kier Img size = Landscape = Background = solo singer Birth name = Kierin Magenta Kirby Other names = Lady Kier, Kier Kirby Born = birth date and age|1963|8|15 | Died Origin = Youngstown, Ohio, United… …   Wikipedia

  • Katherine Mansfield — Infobox Writer name = Kathleen Mansfield Murry imagesize = 180px caption = pseudonym = Katherine Mansfield birthdate = Birth date|1888|10|14 birthplace = Wellington, New Zealand deathdate = Death date and age|1923|01|09|1888|10|14 deathplace =… …   Wikipedia

  • Katherine Mansfield — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mansfield. Katherine Mansfield (1888 1923) Katherine Mansfield …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mr Reginald Peacock's Day — is a 1920 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in the New Age on 14 June 1917, and later reprinted in Bliss and Other Stories.[1] Contents 1 Plot summary 2 Characters 3 …   Wikipedia

  • The Daughters of the Late Colonel — is a 1922 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in the London Mercury in May 1922, and later reprinted in The Garden Party and Other Stories.[1] Contents 1 Plot summary 2 Characters …   Wikipedia

  • Millie (short story) — Millie is a 1913 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in The Blue Review in June 1913.[1] Contents 1 Plot introduction 2 Plot summary 3 Literary significance …   Wikipedia

  • Mr and Mrs Dove — is a 1921 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published in The Sphere on 28 November 1921, and later reprinted in The Garden Party and Other Stories.[1] Contents 1 Plot summary 2 Characters 3 …   Wikipedia

  • Marriage à la Mode (short story) — Marriage à la Mode is a 1921 short story by Katherine Mansfield. It was first published the The Sphere on 31 December 1921, and later reprinted in The Garden Party and Other Stories.[1] Contents 1 Title 2 Plot summary 3 …   Wikipedia