"Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield

Essay by tekkie7University, Bachelor's May 2006

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Miss Brill: Point of View and Setting

The story "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield is told to us in the third person; by someone watching. We are given a poetic description of a beautiful afternoon at the park. We can see and also feel the crispness in the air. Our narrator also allows us to see into Miss Brill's perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and into her world as a whole. We see the world through her eyes. We feel her emotions.

This beautiful fall afternoon at Jardins Publique is described in such detail that I could actually see what was happening. I could hear the band playing. I could see leaves falling from majestic trees. We see the people in the park as Miss Brill does. The narrator gets us settled into the park with Miss Brill and tells us that she sees those around her as "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!" Miss Brill sees herself differently than she sees others, not odd or funny.

She sees herself as an actor in the play and "somebody would have noticed if she hadn't been there." She is a part of this scene; not separate. She really loves being there with the other characters. Haven't we all felt like characters in a play acting out our parts every day? Our role might only be important for one scene, but we feel like the leading man or woman at times.

Miss Brill's dreams of this are quickly shattered by the comments by the young people, "Why does she come here at all-who wants her? Why doesn't she keep her silly mug at home?" She is faced with the realization...