Miss Brill Judgment and Otherness Essay

Pages: 3 (894 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology

From very brief glimpses of these people, Miss Brill comes to rather self-satisfied and quick judgments of them while truly remaining completely ignorant of others. It is only n the last line of the story that the third person perspective becomes truly obvious and extremely poignant, even distancing Miss Brill's thoughts from herself.

In order for Miss Brill to come to these judgments about the others around her, there must first of course be others around her, and thus the setting of the story is essential. The busyness of the park and the streets that Miss Brill occupies with the other unnamed individuals in the tale enable and in fact demand the superficiality that is apparent throughout the story. The familiarity of the surroundings to the protagonist also enables the story's detail and the ultimate irony of the strangeness of others.

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Plot seems to be entirely lacking from the story until its very end. Nothing really happens to Miss Brill this Sunday -- she even notes (or rather the narrator notes, or perhaps the narrator describes her noting) that less is happening this Sunday than happens on most Sundays. At any rate, there is very little in terms of events or changes in perspective, mood, or action that occurs in the story. Again, however, there is an irony in this apparent lack of plot, as the rather mundane plodding of the central character is yet one more deceptive and superficial judgment that belies the richness of Miss Brill's inner life and the depth of her feelings. After hearing two young lovers ridiculing her out loud in a manner similar to the way she ridiculed others in her mind, Miss Brill heads home dejected. This is the only real plot point, and even the change in mood is not really noted in the tone of the narrator: "On her way home she usually bought a slice of honey-cake at the baker's. It was her Sunday treat…but today she passed the baker's by" (pars. 17-18). The action reveals the change in mood, but the description does not -- no one is going to notice what is really going on inside Miss Brill, just as she cannot know or accurately judge any other human being.

Essay on Miss Brill Judgment and Otherness Assignment

Though it starts out rather cheery, Katherine Mansfield's "Miss Brill" is ultimately a rather depressing look at the loneliness of human beings. One cannot really know another completely, or perhaps even at all. What we are left with, then, are superficial judgments that contribute little other than heartache and negativity when they are spoken… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Miss Brill Judgment and Otherness."  Essaytown.com.  October 1, 2011.  Accessed May 31, 2020.