Friday, June 17, 2011

Tone Of Miss Brill

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The Pain of Loneliness

The central idea of Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill” is the pain of loneliness. Throughout the story, Mansfield reminds us constantly of Miss Brill’s pain by letting us see life through Miss Brill’s eyes, which allows us to feel pity for Miss Brill. Miss Brill sadly attempts to experience life through strangers. Mansfield creates the tone by showing readers Miss Brill’s naivety of life. This brings about a sad, painful, and pitiful tone to take over the entire story. The tone of loneliness is developed by Miss Brill’s attempts for warmth and companionship, her fantasizing about the life she would like to live, and her final realization of what her life truly is.

Miss Brill’s loneliness and the need for warmth and companionship is obvious. In the beginning of the story she treats her fur as if it were her favorite pet. She rubs “the life into the dim little eyes.” Also, when the band is playing, she feels like she is who the band is playing for, “it was like someone playing with only the family to listen.” She incorporates herself as part of that “family.” Miss Brill finds comfort in believing that her furs are alive, and that she is a part of all the activities around her. As a reader, knowing that the fur is not alive in any way, and that the band merely thinks of her as an old woman with nothing better to do, there is a sure feeling of pity and pain for the woman, adding to the loneliness.

Along with her longing for companionship, Miss Brill tries to live her life through complete strangers. The fact that she can’t live her own life and keep to herself also impresses the tone of loneliness on the reader. Miss Brill looks forward to eavesdropping on people’s conversations. She thinks they don’t notice her. Sometimes she becomes hostile towards the women she listens to, like the patient Englishman’s wife. She said she “wanted to shake her.” Her interest in others’ lives only makes the tone more clear that she is lonely and has no life of her own to live.

Custom Essays on Tone Of Miss Brill

When more is discovered about Miss Brill’s life, the more evident it is that she is lonely. When she describes the other people at the park as “odd, silent, nearly all old people, and from the way they stared they looked as though they’d just come from dark little rooms or even� even cupboards!” It’s obvious she is one of those very people she’s describing. Then later in the story, her own room is described as a “dark room, like a cupboard.” Then, the remarks of the young couple give her a little more self-awareness. At the end, “she thought she heard something crying.” Which is most likely herself, but she’s refusing to accept herself once again. All of these factors come together to form a stronger sense of loneliness than before when she hadn’t gained any self-awareness of herself.

The tone of “Miss Brill” is the same throughout the entire story. She suffers in the beginning because she longs for warmth and companionship. Later on she becomes self-aware of some of her problems and then goes right back to denying them. The tone of the story remains consistent throughout and leaves the reader feeling pity for Miss Brill. Mansfield creates the tone through Miss Brill’s thoughts, acts, and feelings.

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