What comments by the narrator take the reader into the mind of Miss Brill? What insights into her character are given by the various questions and exclamations?
From her thoughts, we can tell that Miss Brill lives inside her own head and doesn’t really engage with the world.
One of the first hints that Miss Brill does not like to interact with others, but rather considers herself a people-watcher, is her reaction when people sit next to her. The couple sits down, but isn’t talking.
Only two people shared her "special" seat … They did not speak. This was disappointing, for Miss Brill always looked forward to the conversation. She had become really quite expert, she thought, at listening as though she didn't listen, at sitting in other people's lives just for a minute while they talked round her.
Miss Brill doesn’t engage with anyone. She does not strike up a conversation with the people on the bench. She wants them to talk. Everyone and everything exists for her entertainment. She sees things around her as if they were theater, not real life.
Oh, how fascinating it was! How she enjoyed it! How she loved sitting here, watching it all! It was like a play. It was exactly like a play. … They were all on stage. They weren't only the audience, not only looking on; they were acting. Even she had a part and came every Sunday.
Miss Brill considers just her place on the bench making her a part of everyone else’s lives. She does not understand that people find just sitting there every week and watching everyone peculiar. When she hears derogatory comments about herself, she doesn’t react. She feels like it is someone else who is crying.
Miss Brill's reaction to the insights and the fact that "she thought she heard something crying" demonstrates how detached she is from her own experiences. She takes small enjoyment in the vicarious experiences of others, and pretends she is happy, when she is really just a lonely and reclusive introvert.