Miss Brill Theme

What is the central idea in Katherine Mansfield's short story Miss Brill?

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Sarah Miles eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The central idea in Miss Brill, by Katherine Mansfield, is loneliness. Miss Brill is an English teacher living in France. You can see throughout the short story, that Miss Brill lives in delusions caused by the pain of her loneliness. She attempts to experience life through the experiences of total strangers she sees at the park. You can tell her life is full of loneliness, by the way she loving cares for her old fur coat. The coat represents her life. Once full of promise, now a lonesome thing discarded. Loneliness, illusion vs. reality, youth and age and rejection are the major themes of Miss. Brill.

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Walter Fischer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Katherine Mansfield’s 1920 short story “Miss Brill” is about loneliness and self-delusion, and about the fragility of one so isolated yet yearning to be a part of the world around her.  Mansfield’s protagonist is a single woman, probably middle-aged or a little older, obviously employed as a teacher (her “English pupils” ) who, in an earlier time (i.e., the time frame in which...

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