Character of “Miss Brill” Essay

In the narrative, “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield, the primary character, Miss Brill, is developed with the usage to signs and patterns of metaphors. The story is about Miss Brill’s regular on Sundays, and how she is analyzing the world around her, and her function in it. The primary metaphors that are utilized are her fur coat, the old people, and her seat. All these metaphors help reveal that Miss Brill does not live life, however only views it.

Miss Brill’s fur coat is introduced in the first paragraph of the story. She personifies the fur, and projects a few of her own personalities and interests into it. “She had taken it out of its box that afternoon, shaken out the moth powder, offered it an excellent brush, and rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes”(Mansfield p. 357). Later On, Miss Brill further characterizes the fur coat and states that is a “little rogue”, which even more regrets her personification of the fur.

Moreover, she feels that she is attracted to the personified fur, “She might have taken it off and laid it on her lap and rubbed it” (Mansfield p. 357). The fur coat is a metaphor for her, or what she sees attractive in herself.

She if old, so is the fur coat “. shaken out the moth powder.”(Mansfield p. 357); she likes to dress up and utilize makeup, much like what she does to the fur coat “. a little dab of black sealing-wax.” (Mansfield p. 357). She sees the world around her as it goes by, however never experiencing it for herself, similar to an inanimate object, such as her fur coat. This point is reinforced further at the end of the story, when she has been ridiculed, and is putting away her coat away; “However when she put the lid on she thought she heard something sobbing” (Mansfield p. 361). The author tells the reader that the fur is weeping, however the metaphor shows that it is Miss Brill that is sobbing.

Similarly, “the old individuals sat on the bench, still as statues”, is also a metaphor for Miss Brill. She is one of the old individuals sitting on the benches, enjoying everyone else. It is paradoxical, since she appears to dislike these people, but at the very same time, she is among them; “They were odd, quiet, nearly all old” (Mansfield p. 358). Miss Brill, like the other old people, is peculiar, quiet, and old. What she sees in these individuals, is what the reader sees in her. This metaphor signifies what she remains in truth and what other people in the story see her as; “Since of that foolish old thing at the end there.” (Mansfield p. 360) is what a young couple says when they see Miss Brill. The old people symbolize the old pitiful nature of Miss Brill’s regimen of viewing everyone else’s experiences, however never ever experiencing herself.

Lastly, the symbol of her “special seat” is the most important and drives home the point of Miss Brill never ever experiencing life. The seat represents her viewpoint of the world. The metaphor of a play is likewise utilized, but they both symbolize the very same thing; they are both her eyepieces to the rest of the world, and this is how she can experience life, instead of doing it herself. “How she enjoyed it! How she liked sitting here, watching it all! It resembled a play” (Mansfield p. 359). Furthermore, she feels that she is living life and experiencing whatever, due to the fact that Miss Brill feels that she is apart of the play “They weren’t just the audience … they were acting” (Mansfield p. 359). The author successfully uses the metaphor of her “special seat” and of a play to signify Miss Brill’s character, and how she feels that she is completely living life, but in fact, she is only viewing.

Throughout the narrative “Miss Brill”, by Katherine Mansfield, 3 crucial symbols are used to identify Miss Brill; they are the fur, the old people, and her “unique seat”. All these program that Miss Brill is a watcher, who experience life through viewing.