Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield is about a middle-aged English teacher who secretly listens to other people’s conversation due to her loneliness. Every weekend Miss Brill goes out to the parade in a park and listens to other people’s conversation because she has nobody to talk to but her fur coat. She treasures her fur coat as if it’s her pet and has conversations with it.
Towards the end of the story, she realizes that nobody likes her, therefore she goes home into her dark room and cries. Katherine Mansfield, uses imagery, characterization, and point-of-view uses these three literary elements to inform the meaning of the lonliness.
The author uses imagery for the reader to better understand the story and to create the apperance of her loneliness. In the beginning of the story, the author states “She had taken it out of its box that afternoon, shaken out the moth powder…rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes.” (Mansfield 1)Here, Miss Brill takes out her fur coat and starts to talk to it and pets it as if it is her pet.
From this, the reader can can visually interpret that Miss Brill had no friends or family to talk to when she was lonley. Furthermore, towards the end of the story, a girl at the park says, “It’s exactly like a fried whiting.”(Mansfield 4) The reader can visualize the story the author intended on how the little girl at the park makes fun of Miss Brill of her fur coat saying that it looks like fried fish. After hearing this, Miss Brill goes home and cries in her dark room.
In addition, the author uses point-of-view for the reader to step into the main characters’ shoes. In the beginning of the story, when Miss Brill went to the park to watch the parade, the author states “Wasn’t the conductor wearing a new coat, too? She sure it was new.” (Mansfield 1)
From this quote, the reader can see that she went to the parade often, enough to know what the bandsmen wore each weekend to perform. Furthermore, the author states “But to-day she passed the baker’s by, climbed the stairs, went into the little dark room- her room like a cupboard…She sat there for a long time.” (Mansfield 4) After coming back from the parade, getting made fun of, she goes to her room in a depressed mood and cries by herself.
Lastly, from the begininng of the story, the reader can tell that Miss Brill had a unique personality. From talking and petting her fur coat, to eavesdropping, her character is a bit different from others. Her lonliness could have lead her to eavesdrop on people and have a fur coat as her friend. The author states, “This was disappointing, for Miss Brill always looked foward to the conversation.” (Mansfield 1), to show her lonliness. In this quote, the reader can see that Miss Brill liked to talk to people and even if she wasn’t in the conversation, she would like to listen to them.
Furthermore, he author states “How she enjoyed it! How she loved sitting there, watching it all! It was like a play.” (Mansfield 3) This quote is explaining how she enjoyed the parade as if it was a play. The reader can see that she entertained herself by going to the park every weekend to forget about her loneliness.
The author successfully used these three literary elements for the readers to better understand the story, to create the appearance of her lonliness and visualize interpret what the author was intending to say. Authors using literary elements in their story is important because they can send what they’re trying to say to the readers easily with the literary elements.
Furthermore, it is important to the readers because the reader’s can better understand the story and relate the story to the world. Reading this story, readers can understand people who too are lonely and step into their shoes to understand their feelings.
Courtney from Study Moose
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