Miss Brill Summary

Miss Brill Summary

Sunday afternoon at the public gardens in a French village finds Miss Brill enjoying the crisp air of early fall by showing off her fur stole as protection against the faint chill. With the long hot summer finally drawing to a close, this stroll to the Jardins Publiques is the first opportunity Miss Brill has had to wear her beloved stole in some time. After a good cleaning, she had managed to bring so much life back into the rodent’s eyes that it almost appear to be communicating with her. Too bad she couldn’t say the same for the false nose which was starting to look rather shabby.

Taking her seat on the bench, Miss Brill began to enjoy one of the great pleasures that life afforded: people watching. The sound of the music from the bad seemed somehow not just louder, but more vibrant than on recent Sundays in the park. Seated at her special place to enjoy listening to the music and watching the people, the only disappointment is the lack of opportunity to eavesdrop on private conversations between those sitting near. Two people do take a seat beside her, but almost stubbornly refuse to speak.

And so, Miss Brill sets silently, enraptured by the various dramas playing out before her. As she gazes upon the scene, her thoughts turn to the students who learn English from her and then to the elderly gentleman who listens as she reads articles from the newspapers to him. Miss Brill’s imagination begins to kick into gear as she pictures her part in the scenes playing out before her from the perspective of being an actor in a stage play. The park becomes the stage and Miss Brill becomes another character in the narrative. She begins to wonder whether her weekly absence would be noticed like the absence of a familiar character from a performance of a play.

A young couple approach Miss Brill and take a seat close by. For Miss Brill, these two attractive lovers take on the roles in her imagined fiction of the hero and the heroine. She listens more closely to their conversation in an attempt to work what they are saying into her constructed dramaturgy. The actual dialogue of the actors do not jibe with her own narrative, however. Far from it: they are scornfully making fun of her fur and her age and wondering why she insists on regularly appearing in public when it is obvious she is so dreadfully out of place. The young woman even dares to compare Miss Brill’s beloved fur to a dead fish.

In response, Miss Brill makes the decision not to stop by the bakery she usually visits as part of her Sunday in the park ritual. Instead, she hastily returns to the small dark room of her home, sitting quietly for some time before finally removing her fur and placing it back inside the box from whence it was released earlier that morning. As she does this, Miss Brill imagines the sound of something crying.

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