Who is watching; who is being watched? - "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield

Essay by HsingJungUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, January 2004

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"Miss Brill" seemed to be a pedestrian short story at first time I read it; however, after reading it several times, I found what happened in "Miss Brill" was similar to what happened in my daily life and it explained what our teacher Mr. Yu said: Literature represents life. I believe the reason why this short story could be famous and lasting for so long was because it aroused echoes in readers' hearts.

The short story was described by an anonymous narrator that Miss Brill was watching people on one Sunday afternoon - it might mean that Miss Brill was observing others while she was being observed at the same time. What Miss Brill had often noticed was people who were "odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they'd just come from dark little rooms or even - even cupboards!" Besides, we could see the world through the eyes of Miss Brill as well as feel her emotions, and with her observation on people and the sound she heard from the band, she suddenly felt that she was like on the stage with all those people and the life was just like a play.

As she was under her self-conceited that she might sometimes be a leading woman in the play, a boy and girl came and sat down near to her, and she, as usual, prepared to listen to their conversation. By the time she heard the comments by the young boy, "Why does she come here at all - who wants her? Why doesn't she keep her silly old mug at home?" Miss Brill realized that she was in fact like those odd, silent and old people that she watched in the park.

With the cold...