Character And Point Of View Analysis Of

Miss Essay, Research Paper

Katherine Mansfield, in her short story Miss Brill , slowly reveals the nature of her main character. She gradually divulges Miss Brill s personality, leading the reader to believe things about Miss Brill that are not true. Also, the point of view tt Mansfield uses enhances the story and adds to the reader s misinterpretation of Miss Brill until the end of the story. Miss Brill s character is a complex one. She cannot be stereotyped and she has a multifaceted personality. The reader sees several sides of her nature. Her almost mischievous side is revealed as the narrator tells how she waits for people to sit on r bench so that she might listen in on their conversations. This also reveals her need to be accepted. Further, her child like manner is exposed. This is done through the description of her Sunday ritual of buying a slice of honeycake and her excitemt when she discovers and almond inside. More importantly, however, to the complexity of her character is the fact that she has an epiphany. Miss Brill feels that everyone in the park has a unique bond. Mansfield writes, They were all on the stage. They weren t only the audience, not only looking on; they were acting. Even she had a part and came every Sunday (51). Miss Brill is obvioly a lonely woman who feels the need to belong. The narrator speaks of Miss Brill s conception of the lives of the others who are regulars in the park.Other people sat on the benches and green chairs, but they were nearly always the same Sunday after Sunday, and–Miss Brill had often noticed–there was something funny about all of them. They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stad they looked as though they d all just come from dark little rooms or even–even cupboards! (50-51)Miss Brill soon discovers that she is just like those people that she has been looking upon with pity. It is at this point in the story that Miss Brill experiences her painful epiphany. A pair of young lovers sit down on Miss Brill s bench. She becomes excited for she now has a conversation to listen in on. The boy wants to kiss the girl but the girl resists. The boy asks if it is because of the stupid old thing on the end over the (52), referring to Miss Brill. With that sentence uttered, Miss Brill s trance is forever broken. She leaves the park to return home without buying her honeycake, without the joy she had when she first arrived. Here, the author makes the connectio

between Miss Brill s view of the other s who frequent the park on Sundays. She writes, …she…went into the little dark room–her room like a cupboard (52). Miss Brill has come to the realization that she is just like the odd, silent, and old peoe that she had looked on with pity before this day. Miss Brill s character is revealed indirectly. At first she seems different then the others who come to the park every Sunday, but later it is revealed that she is not. The reader discovers this right along with Miss Brill. Bit by bit, Miss Brill s culiarities are brought into the light. The rest of the characters in Miss Brill would have to be described as flat. None of them are named, only a few have speaking roles and they all seem to flit in and then out of the story as Miss Brill turns her attention to something else. There arthe other regulars to the park, the old couple who quietly sit on Miss Brill s special bench, the couple from the previous week who had a discussion about the woman getting spectacles. The band with it s members and it s conductor play for the crowd,he little children dressed in their best parade by, and perhaps most importantly, the young lovers take their place on Miss Brill s bench. Miss Brill is written in a limited omniscient point of view. The narrator knows everything that goes on in Miss Brill s head but is only an observer for the rest of the world. This point of view is particularly effective in Miss Brill because theeader is able to see into Miss Brill s mind without the biases that would come with the story being brought from her point of view. Also, in this point of view, the reader can feel a degree of detachment between the narrator and Miss Brill. Furthermore, it is interesting that the narrator s detachment is such, that Miss Brill s first name is never mentioned. Work CitedMansfield, Katherine. Miss Brill. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 7th ed. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman,


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