What is the characterization of Miss Brill?
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Characterization is a detailed description of a character’s physical and personality traits. You have chosen an excellent story to ask about characterization, because this story is a perfect example of indirect characterization, which is the process of describing a character indirectly through the character’s thoughts and actions, rather than telling us directly about the character.
We know several things about Miss Brill from her visit to the park. First of all, we know that she is a people watcher. She enjoys watching people as if they were a show. We also know that she cares about people. She is a teacher, which is a service profession, and she reads newspapers to old people. Both seem to indicate she is selfless and giving.
Miss Brill is also a bit naïve. She is unmarried, thus the miss, and she doesn’t seem to have any romantic relationships. She gets so caught up in watching the people, especially the young couple on the bench next to her, that she forgets that this is real life and she is eavesdropping. She means no harm though. She lives largely in her head.
Miss Brill is sensitive, but she does not really recognize the emotion. She loves her park, she loves watching people, and she loves her necklet almost to the point of imaging it has feelings. When she is ridiculed, she does not really internalize the emotion and recognize that she is, indeed, sad.
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