What is Miss Brill's main epiphany in the short story "Miss Brill"?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Every Sunday, Miss Brill, who doesn't have much money, goes to her weekly outing in the park. She dresses carefully for it, putting on her "dear" fox fur. While there, she watches the simple events going on. She differentiates herself from the other people, usually old, who come to sit in the park Sunday after Sunday, never changing. She thinks

there was something funny about nearly all of them. They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they'd just come from dark little rooms or even—even cupboards!

Although she is lonely and sad, Miss Brill tries to deny this and find as much joy as she can in her visit to the park and the slice of cake she buys at the bakers. But today, she overhears the male of a young couple not wanting to sit near her because he finds her creepy. He says: "Why does she come here at all—who wants her?" His girlfriend makes fun of Miss Brill's fox stole.

After this, Miss Brill goes back to her room deflated, not even stopping at the bakery. Her epiphany is that she too is "funny" and "odd" like the other people who come and sit silently at the park every Sunday. She has to give up the facade of happiness and accept that she is just another pathetic, lonely old lady who lives in a dark room.

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Miss Brill's epiphany in "Miss Brill" relates to her relationship to other people. It starts when she realizes she's been relating to the other people in the park as if they were characters in a play, when in reality, she's part of the "play" too. Then she listens in on the young couple, only to find they are talking about her—and treating her like she's a character in a play, for their entertainment. She's quite hurt, and so realizes the layered cruelty of the world. Her epiphany, then, is that we are all connected, but we don't all realize it—and that when we don't, we hurt one another.

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meowmix eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Another thing to add to the post above is the fact Miss Brill is lonely.

In the short story, the main character doesn't interact with all the other "players" in the theatre of the mind. She comes up with these wonderful stories but she is distant from them. At the end of the story, the reader feels a great sense of pity for Miss Brill. She comes home after the incident with the young lovers, defeated. She forgoes her honeycake treat. The fox necklet no longer has its allure. She hears someone crying and it is most likely her.

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