Why do you think Mansfield does not give Miss Brill a first name?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Brill is a very lonely woman, so lonely that “when she breathed, something light and sad–no, not sad, exactly–something gentle seemed to move in her bosom” just by putting on her fur collar. In fact, her fur collar is her best friend. Rather than participating in conversations, she instead eavesdrops on those of others, “sitting in other people's lives just for a minute while they talked round her.”Such women in our society are considered odd, to the extent we think of them at all, and certainly do not get to know them.  By telling the story from third person limited point of view of Miss Brill, Mansfieldallows us into this lonely woman’s world, just a little.  However, just like everyone else, her narrator stays removed from her character, although she presents her with compassion and respect. Those qualities are best conveyed through the formal “Miss Brill” rather than speaking about her intimately through a first name, for surely no one is on a first name basis with this woman.