What does Miss Brill do every Sunday in "Miss Brill?"

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Miss Brill sits on a bench in the park and people-watches every Sunday.

Miss Brill is a woman who likes to take part in life by proxy.  She enjoys routine.  She seems to come to the same park bench every Sunday, and must have been doing it for some time.  She comes every day, every season, throughout the year.  She likes to people-watch—and eavesdrop.

Only two people shared her "special" seat: a fine old man in a velvet coat … and a big old woman, sitting upright, with a roll of knitting on her embroidered apron. They did not speak. This was disappointing, for Miss Brill always looked forward to the conversation.

Miiss Brill enjoys watching the people in the park act out their lives, “like a play.”  She considers herself part of the play because she comes every Sunday.  She hopes that someone would notice if she was not there, but she does not tell the students that she teaches English that she goes to the park.

One way we know that Miss Brill always comes to the park every Sunday is from Miss Brill’s description of the band.

And the band sounded louder and gayer. That was because the Season had begun. For although the band played all the year round on Sundays, out of season it was never the same.

Although Miss Brill may not participate much in the life of the park around her, that does not mean she does not care about her appearance.  She picked out a nice fur to wear, first of all.  She also gets her feelings hurt when the young boy and girl insult her, although even then she almost doesn’t admit it to herself, distancing herself from the pain.

Until the boy and girl insult her, Miss Brill lives in a fantasy world.  She considers the park a play, and everything in it part of the performance.  She does not interact with anyone, but just by being there they are accepting her, in her mind.  When the boy and girl insult her, it bursts her bubble and reminds her that they are not really accepting her at all.  She is just there. 

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