Miss Brill Character Analysis Essay
In both stories “A Rose for Emily” and “Miss Brill” the two main characters experience harsh criticism from the outside world. Rejection, isolation and loneliness are the major experiences that each character faced, but the way they were handled and done were different. Another different thing about them is that Emily Grierson avoids her townsmen and Miss Brill embraces her townsmen and wants to be a part of their world.
Emily Grierson and Miss Brill not being able to step into reality, meaning a big part of both stories, leaves the characters struggling for happiness. Both tend to live in their past and can’t accept the fact of change.With twists and shocking events from both characters in the story, Emily Grierson and Miss Brill lead themselves to a crazed ending. Rejection is shown from each of these stories because both characters are rejected, but in different ways. Emily Grierson was waiting for Homer Barron to ask her to marry him, but never did. Readers never know why but have a theory he was a homosexual. “-he liked men, and it was known that he drank with the younger men in the Elks’ Club- that he was not a marrying man” (Faulkner p# 224). This quote explains much, but not all the details to infer he was a homosexual.
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In “Miss Brill” the old woman is sitting on the bench as usual until she overhears a couple’s conversation. The couple argues about Miss Brill always being at the park, “Because of that stupid old thing at the end there” (Mansfield p# 243). Miss Brill feels rejected by society and the environment around her, Miss Brill began to realize the difference between reality and fantasy that day. She didn’t stop by the bakery like she usually did, and she put the old fur that she was wearing away in a box, symbolizing a shift in Miss Brill’s view on the world around her and a transformation of herself.Loneliness also, showed in both “A Rose for Emily”, and “Miss Brill”, is a key factor on both stories. Emily lives by herself with a dead body in her household “Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized” (Faulkner p# 223).
At one point she wasn’t so lonely because of a man named Homer Barron, but the man rejected the love she wanted with him. In the story Emily buys poison but never states for what, but the reader can infer that she uses the poison to kill Homer so that he wouldn’t leave her, but the Arthur doesn’t give that information leaving a mystery to the story.In “Miss Brill” Miss Brill lives alone as well, having such gap of one’s social life can give clues as to why she lives in denial and not step into reality. In the beginning of the passage Miss Brills tone gives an idea of her feelings and worse emotions later in the passage “when she breathed, something light and sad- no, not sad, exactly-something gentle seemed to move into her bosom” (Mansfield p# 241). An important difference between the characters Miss Brill and Emily Grierson is that Miss Brill’s home life is boring, even an almond slice in her cake can excite her.Through the depths of her sadness and loneliness she has convinced herself that she was a necessary part of her community that it would be unable to function properly without her presence. 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.
She states, “Only two people shared her ‘special seat’” (Mansfield p# 241), meaning she has that seat because she is important, again trying to make herself seem a key component in her surroundings. This contrasts sharply with the way Emily Grierson shuns society.This is first implied when the narrator tells of the town’s reaction to Emily’s death.
It says, “When Miss Emily Grierson died, our whole town went to her funeral” (Faulkner p# 226). Though her father had kept her locked in the house, she had remained there, a hermit, even after his death, leaving the townspeople curious as to what went on in her life. Both Emily and Miss Brill experienced isolation, but in different ways. The author states Emily goes through isolation at a very young age.
Emily’s family seemed to think that they were better than people in the town. We remembered all the young men her father had driven away” (Faulkner p# 240), which means no men were near her. Her whole life she was kept to the family and isolated from society because of the family’s idea of being better than everyone. When Emily’s father dies she tells everyone that he wasn’t dead, “she told everyone her father was not dead” (Faulkner p# 223). The character Miss Brill is isolated in a different way. Every Sunday Miss Brill would go to the park and “Only two people shared her special seat” (Mansfield p# 276). As she sat in the park she didn’t speak to anyone.
She would listen to the people who sat in the seat next to her. She would listen to people and judge them from her special seat. Miss Brill was at the park to crowd watch, to be a part of people lives from a far but isolating herself from the world by just sitting, watching, and listening. That would make her feel more meaningful in life. In conclusion, both Emily Grierson and Miss Brill can’t cheat reality.
Both characters from the two stories come across major issues and events that lead to their own isolation, rejection and loneliness.Emily from “A Rose for Emily” leads herself to her own death by trying to cheat reality with having rejection upon her. Miss Brill in “Miss Brill” finally hears a conversation she shouldn’t have (just like all the others) and overhears a couple talking about her old useless self. Leading to the rejection and loneliness she feels from society as she once thought she was above of. With twists and shocking parts of the story, both characters lead themselves to a crazed ending.Works CitedFaulkner, William.
“A Rose for Emily. ” Compact Literature. Eds. Kirszner and Mandell. Boston. Random House/Vintage. 25