I sympathize most with the main character of Katherine Mansfield’s short story “Miss Brill.
” Miss Brill is a woman living in her own little world because reality is too lonely for her. She uses her weekly outings as an escape from isolation and as a chance to feel included.Reality strikes Miss Brill in the end of the story when she overhears a young couple speaking unkindly of her.
It is then that Miss Brill realizes that she too is just one of the elderly bench sitters and is not apart of anything she hoped she was. Miss Brill alters her perception of reality in order to avoid unpleasant feelings of loneliness and despair.On her weekly outings, Miss Brill escapes her “room like a cupboard” (620) confines and in her mind, becomes a part of the lives around her. As she sits on the bench taking in the atmosphere, watching and listening to every person around her, Miss Brill, and, for that moment, makes herself apart of these people’s lives.She believes she is family to everyone around her, “it was like someone playing for the family to listen…” (618) If was funny how the bands music was always in tuned to her own emotions, as in a play. The whole Sunday scene was a play and she was an actress in it.She had a purpose after all and without her the show would not go on.
Miss Brill is much like many people in the park.She sympathizes with those people no knowing just how much they are just like her, alone, desperate, and miserable.An example of this is when she speaks of the elderly people that sit on the benches, “they were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they’d just come from dark little rooms…,” (618) much like herself.She is the one with the “special” seat on the bench after all.
There is another instance of similarity between Miss Brill and the other characters in the story when the woman delighted to see her gentleman friend is ignored by him as he nods to her conversation and lights a cigarette. Rather then seeing the likeness between the two, Miss Brill again sympathizes with the woman, referring to the man as a brute because of his rude gestures towards the woman she calls the “ermine toque”. (619)Miss Brill is so desperate for camaraderie that at one point in the story she seeks out her fur stole for companionship, referring to it as “Little rogue.” “She could have taken it off and laid it on her lap and stroked it.” (618) Miss Bliss’ stole acted as a companion for her,.