Miss Brill

Anguish College

Sometimes, people have a tendency to disguise their anguish with elements of happiness and constantly tell themselves that they are happy when they truly are not. Bertha Young from Katherine Mansfield’s “Bliss” believed that she was truly happy in her life because she seemed to have everything she needed. However, she comes to the horrible realization that her own blissful relationships are aligned against her happiness, even her own husband, Harry, who has an affair with her mysterious friend, Pearl. Bertha’s feelings of bliss and perfect contentment in her life are in conflict with the harsh reality of the less than favorable incidents within her relationships with Harry, Pearl and even herself – in terms of her symbolic pear tree – and her perceptions of these relationships.

In the beginning of the story, Bertha’s feelings of ‘bliss’ are in conflict with Harry’s actions towards her because she feels a notable distance from him. When Bertha was called to answer the phone, “down she flew” (492) from her feelings of Bliss, no longer as blissful as she was before she got the call from Harry. Bertha was completely content until she got the phone call, and now that she must speak to him, she feels some distance toward him. She...

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