Miss Brill: Important quotes with page numbers
“Although it was so remarkably great– the blue sky powdered with gold and great areas of light like white wine sprinkled over the Jardins Publiques– Miss Brill was happy that she had selected her fur.” (page 1)
In the very first line of the story, Mansfield establishes Miss Brill’s love of beauty through her in-depth description of the sky.
The story is told from Miss Brill’s perspective, though Mansfield does not allow the reader to hear all of Miss Brill’s thoughts. Purposefully, her character reveals only what she wishes to, and the point of view assists to reinforce this aspect of Miss Brill’s character, as she modifies her thoughts to stay basically concentrated on the beauty and favorable things in her life.
“The air was stationary, however when you opened your mouth there was just a faint chill, like a chill from a glass of iced water prior to you sip …” (page 1)
Miss Brill’s talent for observing all the information of her environments shows her keen mind and desire to absorb all she can through all of her senses during her trip in the park. These poetic, in-depth descriptions are characteristic of Miss Brill.
“Dear little thing! It was great to feel it again. She had actually taken it out of its box that afternoon, cleaned the moth-powder, offering it an excellent brush, and rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes. ‘What has been taking place to me?’ said the sad little eyes.” (page 1)
Miss Brill’s fur is a symbol of her own state: well-preserved, secured of mothpowder and brushed up for a good appearance at the park. Every Sunday, Miss Brill rubs the life back into herself. Nevertheless, simply as with the gorgeous day with a chill in the air, the fur has unfortunate eyes. Simply listed below the surface area of Miss Brill’s life lies sadness.
“Little rogue! Yes, she actually seemed like that about it. Little rogue biting its tail simply by her left ear.” (page 1)
In her loneliness, Miss Brill turns her fox fur into a buddy with a personality. The fur is a good friend and a supportive sharer of her life.
“She might have taken it off and laid it on her lap and stroked it.” (page 1)
Miss Brill’s sensuality exposes itself here. She gets a kick out of many things: the beauty of the altering season, the heat and tactile softness of the fur. She is a woman built to live an abundant inner and outer life.
“And when she breathed, something light and unfortunate– no, not sad, exactly– something mild appeared to move in her bosom.” (page 1)
An eager observer, Miss Brill reveals that she understands all that takes place to her. She understands herself, and her sensations, totally. This remark reveals us that Miss Brill understands herself; she is not misguided about her scenario. Still, she dismisses the sadness and attempts to acknowledge just the beauty of things. These feelings foreshadow the unhappiness she feels at the end of the story.
“There were a number of individuals out this afternoon, even more than last Sunday. And the band sounded louder and gayer.” (page 1)
Again, Miss Brill does not miss out on a single nuance of life in the park, observing all of it. The first day of the Season brings more individuals to the park.
“Now there came a little ‘flutey’ bit– extremely pretty!– a little chain of intense drops. She was sure it would be duplicated. It was; she lifted her head and smiled.” (page 1)
Ready to be amused and amused, Miss Brill enjoys the music simply as she delights in the other elements of this day.
“She had become really rather skilled, she thought, at listening as though she didn’t listen, at being in other individuals’s lives simply for a minute while they talked round her.” (page 1)
Miss Brill reveals among her preferred parts of Sundays in the park: eavesdropping on other people so that she can feel like she belongs and belongs to something.
“No, nothing would please her. ‘They’ll always be moving down my nose!’ Miss Brill had wished to shake her.” (page 2)
Miss Brill’s impatience with the English lady who speaks about requiring spectacles but declines to get them, exposes her judgmental side.
She is made especially impatient by the way in which the English female takes her other half for given. Miss Brill sees a client and kind spouse and a requiring and unreasonable partner. Miss Brill integrates complete strangers into her life, establishing relationships with them in her own mind, to the point that she wants to “shake” this female. This passage reveals the depth of Miss Brill’s fixation with others and how she lives her life through other individuals. How empty her own life should be for her to care about this female’s eyeglasses.
“Other people sat on the benches and green chairs, but they were almost always the exact same, Sunday after Sunday, and– Miss Brill had actually typically discovered– there was something funny about nearly all of them. They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they looked they looked as though they ‘d just originate from dark little rooms or perhaps– even cupboards!” (page 2)
The reader immediately picks up on the irony of Miss Brill’s observation about the other people in the park: she is among the odd, silent group she describes. She even calls her own apartment or condo a “cabinet” later in the story. She stops working to group herself with these unfortunate, pitiful animals; she is not one of them in her own mind. She is special and various. Both delusion and optimism allow Miss Brill to escape reality into a world where her contribution is valued.
“Oh, how remarkable it was! How she enjoyed it! How she liked sitting here, viewing it all! It resembled a play … They were all on the stage. They weren’t just the audience, not only looking on; they were acting. Even she had a part and came every Sunday.” (page 3)
Miss Brill reveals the main theme of the story here: as Shakespeare observed in As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage.” Each being in the park, even the little canines, influences the play of life. Without everyone, the play would not be the exact same; it would be minimized somehow, according to Miss Brill’s point of view.
“If he ‘d been dead she mightn’t have actually noticed for weeks; she would not have actually minded.” (page 3)
Here Miss Brill reveals an uncharacteristic callousness and maybe a funny bone. The old void male to whom she checks out the newspaper 4 days a week sleeps while she reads to him, ignoring her contribution.
“But all of a sudden he knew he was having the paper read to him by a starlet! ‘A starlet!’ The old head raised; 2 points of light quivered in the old eyes. ‘A starlet– are ye?’ And Miss Brill smoothed the paper as though it were the manuscript of her part and stated gently; ‘Yes, I have actually been an actress for a long time. ‘” (page 3)
Though she imagines this conversation, it reveals a reality about Miss Brill. She is certainly an actress playing a part, though perhaps not in the way she imagines it. Here, she pretends that she is an essential actress, contributing to the play that is staged every Sunday in the Jardins Publiques.
In reality, she truly is an actress, developing her own world where she has self-respect, significance, and value to provide the world. Miss Brill is not knowledgeable about the dual nature of this irony; however, the readers see it. Miss Brill is both useless in her insignificance and brave in her insistence that she sees herself as a valued member and participant in her society.
“The tune lifted, raised, the light shone; and it seemed to Miss Grill that in another minute all of them, all the whole business, would start singing.” (page 3)
In her imagination, the band’s music carries her away with its beauty. In her conceptions, the whole company of stars in the park’s play– as she sees individuals in the park– are signed up with by this music to each other, creating something inspiring together.
“Just at that minute a boy and girl came and sat down where the old couple had actually been. They were wonderfully dressed; they were in love. The hero and heroine, naturally, simply arrived from his father’s private yacht.” (page 3)
Brought away by her imagination and her yearning for connection with others, Miss Brill appoints this young couple, total strangers to her, the starring functions in her internal drama.
“‘But why? Due to the fact that of that stupid old thing at the end there?’ asked the young boy. ‘Why does she come here at all– who wants her? Why does not she keep her ridiculous old mug in the house? “Just a
few terrible and insulting words from the hero of her internal play damage Miss Brill’s impressions and her gorgeous day. Seeing herself now through his eyes, she ends up being an old, unwanted woman. All of her joyful rationalizations and yearning for an uplifting connection and consistency with others are demolished by the truth of this senseless young man’s views.
“‘It’s her fu-ur which is so amusing,’ laughed the woman. ‘It’s exactly like a fried whiting’.” (page 3)
The girl, anxious to keep her boy from being upset with her, sidetracks him by laughing at Miss Brill’s fur. Between them, these two young people destroy Miss Brill’s day and force her to see herself in an uncomplimentary and dismal light. Miss Brill’s precious companion becomes a mottled, old antique, similar to Miss Brill herself.
“In some cases there was an almond in her piece, sometimes not. It made an excellent difference. If there was an almond it resembled carrying house a tiny present– a surprise– something that may effectively not have existed.” (page 3-4)
Miss Brill’s delight at such a small thing– an almond in a piece of cake– exposes both her positive concentrate on the good ideas in life and the smallness of her expectations.
Even more, this quotation shows Miss Brill’s ongoing spirit and expects her future, as well as the rather pathetic level of her desires for her life.
“However to-day she passed the baker’s by, climbed up the stairs, entered into the little dark space– her space like a cabinet– and muffled the red eiderdown. She sat there for a long period of time.” (page 4)
Devastated by the young people’s mockery and insults, Miss Brill is not able to summon her characteristic optimism to handle the blow to her joyful, illusory view of reality. Chastened and depressed by the young people’s view of her, Miss Brill is required from her habitual favorable view of herself into truth.
Mansfield exposes the level of Miss Brill’s destruction by echoing the words that Miss Brill utilized earlier for the “odd, silent, almost all old” (page 2) [/trx_quote] individuals in the park earlier in the story, who look as if they have actually emerged from “dark little rooms or even– even cupboards” (2) [/trx_quote] Miss Brill is one of the odd, old, lonely people. Ironically, at the end of the story, she is joined with individuals in the park but not in the uplifting, motivating manner of her vision, but rather in terms of her poverty and solitude.