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miss brill

             Katherine Mansfield's story "Miss Brill- exemplifies a person's desire to feel important. Mansfield tells the story from the limited omniscient point of view, or from the point of view of an outsider who possesses such a familiarity with Miss Brill that much of Miss Brill's characterization is presented indirectly. By telling the story this way, Mansfield is able to portray Miss Brill's loneliness, naiveté, and lack of self-awareness fully. The story gives the reader no details of Miss Brill's past, allowing the reader to draw his or her own conclusion. At the same time, Mansfield provides insights into Miss Brill's character and lifestyle that expresses the theme of the story. Miss Brill is an idealist and a dreamer, who does not communicate with real people and has lost touch with reality. She inadvertently attempts to experience life vicariously, and her naiveté only leads to her own pain.
             When the reader is first introduced to Miss Brill, it becomes apparent that Miss Brill is starving for warmth and companionship. She affectionately caresses her fur as if it were a treasured pet when she rubs "the life into the dim little eyes- of her fox skin. Then, while at the Public Gardens, she perceives the band as playing as if they were "playing with only the family to listen."" However, she is more of a voyeur, and not a participant in the life that unfolds around the Public Gardens. She looks forward to eavesdropping on the conversations of the people that visit the Public Gardens and "she had really become an expert, she thought, at listening as though she didn't listen, at sitting in other people's lives for a minute while they talked around her."" Miss Brill shows that she is longing for male companionship when she seems critical towards the women that she sees in the park, while differential towards the men. She views the man sharing her special seat as "a fine old man,"" while the woman is "a big old woman.

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