What draws ms.brill to the park every sunday?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In the story "Miss Brill" by Katherine Mansfield, the main character of the same name is a governess or teacher, an expatriate from Britain living in France, who takes a special pleasure in taking Sunday strolls.

We do not know a lot of information about Miss Brill, other than what she does for a living, and what she feels at the moment of her walks. It is only through that information that we can merely make assumptions as to what exactly takes her there every Sunday. Yet, the little information that we get allows us to get a glimpse into the mind and soul of Miss Brill.

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. Who could believe the sky at the back wasn't painted? ......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. No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn't been there; she was part of the performance after all.

From this excerpt we can see how Miss Brill is a woman who has not had an opportunity to discover her true self, or herself as a woman. She lives in the moment and with the moment. The walk in the park would be the most cherished of all of those small moments that make up her life.

It is also arguable that Miss Brill simply wants to be a part of "something" since she is not really a part of anything: She is not a wife, nor a mother; Her only company is her fur, to which she speaks as if it were a real pet. Moreover, she is not even in her own country, so he perhaps cannot be a part of the up and going French society. To add to the oddity, she  considers the regular pace of life a "theater" that she gets to watch as if it were a show. This shows a person who is quite removed from the everyday reality of things and has created a world of her own. One world quite separated from the world of others.

How strange she'd never thought of it like that before! And yet it explained why she made such point of starting from home at just the same time each week–so as not to be late for the performance–and it also explained why she had a queer, shy feeling at telling her English pupils how she spent her Sunday afternoons. No wonder!

Therefore, Miss Brill has separated herself from the rest of the world in such a way that she refers to herself as a sort of narrator, or character, within the greater scope of things. This is not the behavior of a person who leads a healthy social nor personal life. Miss Brill is not a person who acts normally.

It is in the end of the story, when the young French couple laughs at her and basically "run her out of the park" is when reality sinks and Miss Brill, perhaps, understands the real role of her life to her possible dismay.

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