Analysis on Ms Brill

Essay by dondon_214College, Undergraduate July 2009

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In lots of stories that I’ve read, minor characters don’t really have significant reason in the story. In Miss Brill, there are lots of minor characters and Katherine Mansfield creates them with reasons. Mansfield uses the minor characters to emphasize Miss Brill’s loneliness and isolation. They are divided into three groups: the passive and uncommunicative, the active and communicative, and finally, the young couple who is shown at the end.

The passive and uncommunicative group of people, especially the old English couple and the ermine toque reflect Miss Brill’s loneliness and isolation by their lacks of interaction. These people don’t interact with others, and this isn’t different from Miss Brill. The old couple who don’t speak at all are the same as Miss Brill who keeps listening to the other people without any words on Sundays. The Englishman and his wife seem to talk each other.

However, they, especially the old lady, only speak their words not to listen to the other. In other words, their conversation lacks interaction and Miss Brill also does. Besides, Mansfield uses these characters not only to reflect her loneliness but also to highlight it. Though they’re similar to Miss Brill, she doesn’t want to hear and join them. She doesn’t want to see the loneliness even from others because her own loneliness is enough. Her avoiding and denying the people is the same with her that makes an irony and highlights her loneliness significantly. And it makes her isolated even from the people like her. The ermine toque rather seems another self of Miss Brill. She’s rejected and looks shabby, odd and old and that is exactly same with Miss Brill. Already knowing that Miss Brill is lonely isolated and rejected from other people just like the...