Katherine Mansfield

Miss Brill

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Miss Brill Symbols and Motifs

Fur Necklet 

Miss Brill’s fur necklet operates as a token of luxurious days and her past. The old fellow is a little worse for wear, like Miss Brill, but still cheerfully patched up and ready for an outing. The fur necklet functions as a symbol of Miss Brill’s optimism and sensuous appreciation of beauty. In fact, she refers to the necklet as a “rogue”—giving the creature a personality and elevating him from an inanimate object to a companion in her adventures.


An almond in the Sunday honey-cake, bought as a special treat, is the ultimate delight for Miss Brill. The days she gets an almond in her cake are special, because the almond is a happy surprise. Miss Brill focuses almost exclusively on the delightful rather than the gloomy side of life. Cake is a symbol of Miss Brill’s belief that the future holds happy surprises.

Red Eiderdown

Her tiny “cupboard” (4)—itself a…

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