Miss Brill is a short story composed by Katherine Mansfield. It talks about the life of a middle-aged English teacher who abides in France and goes by the name Miss Brill. She lives in exile and every Sunday she enjoys going outdoors in part and listens to the band as well as eavesdropping into other people’s conversations. The woman feels comfortable among other people. She also reads newspapers for a certain old man who never recognizes her. Via the use of literary tools such as the limited third-person viewpoint as well as characterization, Mansfield showcases how an individual’s self-perspective can be Abbe rated and makes them become alienated from others. Her actions make the reader come to terms with the depth of her alienation and loneliness. The literary devices make the epiphany after the story more relatable. The following is a synopsis of the story.
Here Is a Well-Written Plot Overview
Here is how the story about mysterious women starts. It was a nice and warm day. All thoughts were about something kind and bright. The story begins with Miss Brill relaxing within a public garden known as Jardins Publiques in a French town on one fine day. She is adorned in a fur coat since it is during autumn. She touched her coat repetitively and referred to it as “her dear little thing,” that she took out of its storage and gave it some life. She imagines herself conversing with her fur coat.
Meanwhile, the band is playing more loud and enthusiastic than it did the previous weekend. The reason is that it’s the beginning of the season. This time around, the band plays more confidently as very few are listening. Miss Brill notices the conductor’s new coat and attempts a guess at the note that will be played next. Surprisingly, her guess turns out to be correct.
Two people were accompanying her in a typical sitting place. One of them is an old man and the other an old woman. Miss Brill gets disenfranchised in the fact that they are not having any conversation that she can eavesdrop on. The previous week, there was an Englishman accompanied by his spouse. They had a rather dull argument on spectacles. During this argument, Miss Brill felt like she needed to shake this woman for silliness since she seemed unable to be satisfied by any spectacles.
However, she manages to console herself by focusing her attention at the crowds in the field close to where the band stands and taking note of all its different activities. Little children run around, fall and their mothers assist them. Each week, Brill equally observes people seated upon benches and chairs instead of the ones moving or playing within the fields. However, she finds them somewhat similar. She believes that there is something rather funny about each person. She considers them odd-looking, old and silent. They appeared as though they had just come out of some dark closets in dark rooms.
Miss Brill goes on with her usual observation and analysis of people and notices a generally jovial commotion. People are pleasant to one another. One woman’s bouquet drops down and is picked up by a small boy. The woman throws them. All of a sudden, a toque and a man in a gray attire meet right in front and start some small talk. The woman was once blonde, but her hair has now taken the color of the ermine, that appears shabby in Miss Brill’s opinion. Miss Brill then wonders what the interaction would look like. Nevertheless, this couple goes separate ways. She again notices another man who nearly gets knocked down by a group of 4 girls.
In the meantime, Miss Brill wonders how exciting it is to sit and watch people. She loves it so much. She compares it to some play and imagines that the sky is stage prop. Suddenly, Miss Brill gets hit by a sudden exciting idea that everyone around her is an actor on this imaginary stage. In her imagination, everyone is not only paying the audience to the band but is also part of the stage performance. She also has her part in all this, and it is to come and watch every Sunday. Miss Brill believes that if she were to stop coming, someone else would notice.
Through this theory, Miss Brill can make sense of why she goes to the part at the same time every Sunday. She does not want to miss out on the performance. This is also the reason why she feels shy whenever her students ask about her activities on Sunday afternoons. She thinks about the old man whom she reads a newspaper to 4 days a week in the garden, and how he never pays any attention such that if the man were to die she would not even tell the difference. However, she is now aware of her role as an actress, and she imagines the man is also speculating the same. Whenever she straightens up the newspaper, she imagines it is a script she is reading to the old man.
The band pauses momentarily before proceeding with the music again. This music reminds Miss Brill of a distant sadness that is indescribable. It makes her desire to sing. It is like everyone else around her might also start singing. She imagines how all these different people will join in the singing and the people seated on the benches will provide backup to the music- something that would be wonderful.
This time a boy and a girl sit where the old couple was seated earlier on. Miss Brill immediately takes notice of their elegant dressing and guesses that they are lovers. She considers them heroes within her play and invents a script that they have just arrived from a yacht belonging to the boy’s father. She listens to their conversation while soundlessly singing all the while.
The boy and girl are arguing. The girl seems to be lamenting that she cannot do what the boy desires. She insists that they cannot do whatever he is asking over there. When the boy inquires why she says it is because of the stupid old thing at the far end (referring to Miss Brill. The boy questions why Miss Brill might have come to the park and wonders who might want her. After that, the girl pokes fun at Miss Brill’s fur coat, claiming that it resembles fried whiting.
Typically, Miss Brill would buy a honey cake slice on her way home. The presence of almond or lack of it makes a huge difference to her. She sees it as a gift, and whenever she finds a cake with almonds, she normally feels very excited and walks home a lot faster. However, that day, she fails to purchase anything and goes directly to her room and sits upon her bed. She places the fur coat back into its case when she left upon the bed and puts it inside without looking. However, the moment she put the lid on, they felt as though she heard something cry.