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Miss Brill

The Third Person-Point of View as used by Katherine Mansfield in Katherine Mansfield’s use of the third person, limited omniscient point of view in “Miss Brill” has the effect of letting the reader see the contrast between Miss Brill’s idea of her role in life and the reality of the small part she truly plays in world around her. In one short Sunday afternoon, the main character’s view of herself changes dramatically different changes. Until the end, the reader does not realize the view is like a mirror at a carnival, clear on the outside edges and distorted in the center. Mansfield’s use of the story’s point of view causes her readers to look inside themselves to see if they also view life as Miss Brill does: as they wish it to be, not as it is.In the beginning, Miss Brill sees herself as an observer of life, somehow separate, but yet an integral part of life. From the first sentence, “Although it was so brilliantly fine--the blue skypowdered with gold and great spots of light like white wine splashed over the Jardins Publiques”(49), the reader is made aware of her wonderfully vivid imagination. She seems to notice everything. In addition, she paints it in such words that we see it also. As readers, we want to believe that Miss Brill really has a deep understanding of the world around her. Yet Miss Brill wishes to be a part of the world and not apart from it, so we see her view shift to include herself. Now we begin to wonder about her grasp on reality. She believes that she is an “actress”, that she and everyone else has a specific part to play on this “stage” of life within the park. Her belief in her own importance in this play is displayed in her statement, “No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn’t been there; she was a part of the performance after all.”(51) This sentence begins the transition of the reader’s...

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