Miss Brill Questions and Answers
by Katherine Mansfield

Miss Brill book cover
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What common work (written by a different author) can I compare "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield to?

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This is a very interesting question. Whenever I think of Katherine Mansfield I often associate what she is able to achieve by giving us an insight into the psyche of women with the work of Kate Chopin, who does something very similar in presenting us with a woman's view on a patriarchal world. There are of course some differences between the two writers, but I would select one of Kate Chopin's short stories to compare "Miss Brill" with.

Perhaps one that you could use would be "A Pair of Silk Stockings." This short story tells us about Mrs. Sommers, who unexpectedly finds herself with fifteen dollars, and in spite of the material needs that her family has, she decides to spend it all on herself, buying a pair of silk stockings  and other things that she would never normally be able to afford. At the end of the story, Mrs. Sommers heads home in a cable car, wishing that the journey would never end.

Both women live, albeit temporarily, in their own fantasy worlds for a time, with Miss Brill becoming an actress in an elaborate musical at the park and Mrs. Sommers living a different life. Both women are also trapped by their own situations in various ways; Mrs. Sommers by her poverty and Miss Brill by her loneliness. Stylistically, both stories give us insight into the thoughts and feelings of two women who struggle for survival in a world where they are often neglected. Lots of points of comparison, I would say.

Good luck with this assignment! It appears a very interesting one. I have provided you with links below to the enotes section on "Miss Brill" and "A Pair of Silk Stockings."

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