In-depth analysis of some of the most popular short stories including summaries, character analysis, narrative technique, symbolism and much more.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Character Analysis: Miss Brill

Character Analysis of Miss Brill
Piecing together the main character Miss Brill

Miss Brill

While we are never given a direct description of Miss Brill, we are able to infer certain characteristics about her, based on clues left by the omniscient narrator. Miss Brill may have been an older woman with strange mannerisms, something which she seems to not realize. She describes fellow visitors to the park as looking "as though they'd just come from dark little rooms or even- even cupboards", and we later learn that Miss Brill is actually just like them as her room is also described as being "like a cupboard". She fails to see the similarities, however, because she struggles with confronting her own emotions and is very disconnected from reality. For example she wears a fox fur to the park that day, though the narrator hints that the occasion does not call for it. The fur evokes her disconnected existence by actually reflecting her true emotions with its "sad little eyes". The music has the same effect, with Miss Brill believing herself to have some special connection to the band playing in the park. She struggles with interpreting the effect the music has on her, as she refuses to believe that she is being overcome with sadness.

We, the readers, are given no direct reason as to the cause of her melancholy or her refusal to confront it. We do know that Miss Brill lives a life that is very centered on following a routine, and that may be the cause of her sadness. She visits the park every Sunday, and often stops by the bakery after  visiting the park to buy cake. Her life seems so routine that she finds immense joy in very trivial things, such as whether or not she finds an almond in her cake. Her routine boring life could be the reason for her excitement at the thought of being a part of the production that is the park, at the thought of being an actress, and her need to feel wanted by those around her. The park is an escape from an unexciting life. It would also explain her sadness as she is not content with life of the real Miss Brill.

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