Miss Brill in Katherine Mansfield’ short story “Miss Brill” and Emily in “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner exhibits interesting similarities and differences. The differences and similarities are evident in their characters. The two stories appear different but the relationship they share is very profound. The stories openly to the reader the realization of similarities and dissimilarities in them and the readers in terms of themes within the story, character traits and plot advancement. The plots of the stories unfold to review the dissimilarities in the social lives between Miss Brill and Grierson Emily. The dissimilarities cannot overweigh the similarities between the two characters in the luck of romantic and genuine social lives and their fateful states of denial. The pride that associates with the community involvement is the major difference between the two characters.
Normally people are proud to associate with the community since the involvement gives them a sense if something bigger. Miss Brill takes a community level with more seriously and to a higher level than Emily Grierson who does not take it with much seriousness. This fact makes them different. Miss Brill has a boring life. This fact is evident when she goes to the dark cupboard room. In the room, the almond slice of cake excites her. The depth of Miss Brill loneliness and sadness convinces her that she is an important member of the community. He fills that her contribution is the key driver of her community and in case she withdraws, the community will not survive or operate properly. She thinks that they (community) “were all stage acting. She was assigned a part sand came every Sunday. No doubt if she hadn’t been somebody there would have noticed; after all she was part of the performance” (Mansfield 20).
On the other hand, Emily’s character is a clear contrast of Brill’s character. The narrator brings out the difference when he speaks of Emily’s death. According t the narrator, “the whole town attended Miss Emily Grierson’s funeral”. The narrator continues to add that, the males attend the funeral “as a sign of respect to a fallen monument.” The females attend the funeral because they “were driven by curiosity to find out how the inside of her house appeared like since no one other than an old manservant had seen it in at least ten years” (Faulkner, 32). Miss Emily Grierson’s father confined her to into the house and continues with the state even after her death. The situation makes the people of the town curious about the life of Miss Emily Grierson’s. The only thing the Miss Emily Grierson did with people was to teach children how to paint china, a craft the people considers useless and outdated. Her lack of involvement and disinterest in the society is clear when she evades taxes.
She says, “See Colonel Satoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson” the colonel is dead for almost ten years. The relationship is another point of comparison between the two characters. The both lack romantic and ordinary relationship. None of the two ended up with a functional social life, although there is a bid difference between their public lives. The two stories reveal to the reader a life of two lonely women. Brill would spend her Sunday outings watching people with hopes that she would hear their voices. To her disappointment, people “did not speak.” (Mansfield, 18). Brill’s gets boredom, a mixture of feelings, and joy from things that she sees and unconsciously relates them to her own life. Comparing herself from a woman who gives her a flower confuses her about whether to reject or accept them. She finally “she throws flowers” (Mansfield, 19).
Emily’s distinctive relationship with her father is the reason she lacks social relationship. His father overprotective nature denies Emily a chance to relate socially. She remembers the “the young men that had been driven away by her father” (Faulkner, 36). Her father denies her a chance to meet people, not only during the time she is alive, also after she is dead. Brill comes up with a reason for apparent signs of poor circulation ensuing from old age. The grief in her life is what causes the feeling in her. She suppresses and denies the feeling. She says, “And what they played was sunny, warm, yet there was a mere faint chill or something, what was it?-it is not sadness but rather -a something that made you desire to sing” (Mansfield, 21).
The rebuff in Emily’s side is first apparent when she fails to accept her father is dead. She is dressed normally. Despite the efforts of doctors and the ministry efforts to convince her that her dad is dead, “She said to them that her father was still alive. She remained in this state of denial for three days (Faulkner, 36). This shows the results of suppressing grief.
In conclusion, even though the two stories, “A Rose or Emily” and “Miss Brill” seem to revolve around two dissimilar women living lives that completely differ; they are the same in many subtle, but valuable ways. At the same time, their lives differ in how the two women socialize.
Courtney from Study Moose
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