Compare/Contrast Essay on the short stories "Miss Brill" and "Prue"

Essay by BrowneyezCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2004

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Lonely Women

According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, "Katherine Mansfield is regarded as one of the masters of the short story" (Columbia). She is known as a talented musician (Columbia). She uses music in her short story "Miss Brill" to help set the stage for the play that is about to begin. In addition to becoming "the first Canadian to win the Canada-Australia Literary Prize in 1977", Alice Munro preferred to write "about women's lives and motivations" (Encarta). Katherine Mansfield's story "Miss Brill" and Alice Munro's story "Prue" have similarities and differences between them by lonely women acting life out in imaginary plays (in which they are the main characters) and the use of symbolism.

In both stories, the main characters are lonely. Miss Brill is a lonely old woman who enjoys going to the park every Sunday. She listens to the band, watches, and listens to all the people that come there.

She tries to hide her "emotional isolation, by pretending she is a cast member in a stage production" (Mansfield 260). Miss Brill's only friend is her fur coat. She notices every detail among it, like the feel of the fur, the sad eyes, and the nose, which is not firm anymore. She even named the fur "Little Rogue." She has become accustomed to talking to it, and pretending it is talking to her: "'What has been happening to me?' said the sad little eyes" (259). Miss Brill does not talk about any family or friends during her time on stage; however, she was disappointed that "the old man in a velvet coat," and "a big old woman did not speak" (259). This shows her loneliness as well because "Miss Brill always looked forward to the conversation" (260). She also developed...