Miss Brill Questions and Answers
by Katherine Mansfield

Miss Brill book cover
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What is Miss Brill's mood at the beginning and at the end of the story?

Miss Brill's mood at the start of the story is quite buoyant. She's looking forward to spending a nice day at the park. But when she returns home later that day, she's very sad and depressed because of the hurtful remarks made about her by a young couple.

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Miss Brill's mood at the beginning of the play is one of trying to pump herself up to be happy. She tries to hide her sadness from herself. She focuses on the bright side of life: the beautiful day, her upcoming outing to the park, and wearing her beloved fox fur around her neck, a carefully preserve piece of clothing which she carefully brushes. Yet hints that she is sad appear from the start:

something light and sad–no, not sad, exactly–something gentle seemed to move in her bosom.

As she goes to the park, she exhibits, internally, a desperate gaiety. She finds happiness in sitting in her usual place on a park bench, enjoying the band playing, and eavesdropping on the conversations around her. She pretends she is an actress with a part in a weekly play and thinks:

"Yes, I have been an actress for a long time."

Miss Brill even perks herself up by finding happiness in whether or not an almond is in the slice of honey bread she buys for herself as a treat every Sunday.

By the end of the...

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glowsprite | Student
The fur "cries" which is Ms. Brill. She is aware.