Miss Brill judges the woman with fur toque who gets rejected by the man in the suit by making a connection between the condition of her aged hat and the woman herself. She sees in the shabby state to which the fur has fallen an equally shabby state for the woman who wears it. What she seems to fail to notice at all is the irony that she was forced to spend some time getting her own fur piece to the condition she considered good enough to wear out and apparently is oblivious to the irony that others may be thinking the exactly same thing about her when they see the effects of time upon her own fur.
Situational Irony: Missed Brill-iance
There is irony in the titular character's name. The day is not just described as fine; it is “brilliantly” fine. The story takes place in France and “briller” in French means to shine, gleam, or sparkle. Thus, the author intentionally chose a deeply ironic name for a character sees herself as a gleaming fixture on her park bench whose absence would certainly be noticed. The young girl that compares her shabby fur to a piece of boring fried white fish unintentionally, unknowingly, but certainly maliciously, points out the irony of Miss Brill’s utter lack of sparkle in the eyes of others.
Situational Irony: Heroes and Villains
That cruel young woman is one half of a couple whom Miss Brill has cast in the imaginary play she puts on in her head. The couple are nicely dressed so they win the parts of the romantic heroes. The irony of her choice could not be starker once reality crashes down onto her imaginary theater. Not only is there nothing heroic about their treatment of Miss Brill, they are revealed to be more suitable for the villains.
Miss Brill Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Miss Brill is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.