Things Are Not Always What They Seem: Similarities.
An old, fragile Anglo woman stands beside a young, muscular, and massively tall black man. The woman, Miss Brill, looks eagerly at the people surrounding her, enjoying the sight. The young man, Jim, stands with his arms crossed and a stark look upon his face. The two are strikingly different in appearance; however, internally Miss Brill and Jim are shockingly similar.
Both Miss Brill and Jim live in fantasy worlds that are completely their own. Miss Brill sits on a park bench and watches people, thoroughly convinced that life is a live drama before her eyes. "Oh, how fascinating it was! How she enjoyed it! How she loved sitting here, watching it all! It was like a play. It was exactly like a play" (Mansfield 1). Agreeing with Miss Brill's fantasy world, Michelle, a critic, declares, "The story is completely the language Miss Brill uses to describe her world" (Taylor). Meanwhile, Jim sits in his hotel room barking orders to the hotel manager, Olaf, playing the role of the master of the hotel. He commands, "I want a bottle of whiskey and a woman," "Stand up!," and "Keep this for me" (Wright 2). By fear alone, Olaf obeys. .
Although their worlds appear to be excessively irritating, Miss Brill and Jim actually play the role of protagonists. As for Miss Brill, she is the protagonist as she examines her surroundings containing beautiful people; however, the antagonists are the [beautiful] people in it that fascinate her. Jim is the protagonist in the sense that he is merely living life and enjoying it. On the other hand, Olaf, and people like him, are the antagonists. Olaf quickly judges and dislikes and holds Jim on account of his large size and dark skin.
People in today's society appear to take the world and the people occupying it for granted; however, Miss Brill and Jim do not. In Miss Brill's "drama," she appreciates a couple to the extent that she grants them the superior thespian roles of hero and heroine.