Symbols in Miss Brill
The fur is a symbol of Miss Brill’s inner lifelessness. She identifies herself with the fur, by relating to it amiably. Fur is part of a cadaver, and Miss Brill’s association with it, indicates the hollowness in her because she feels the community has isolated her. The fur resembles a fried bird and this goes along to emphasize the cadaverousness of the fur, which she treasures, and herself. She is lonely, but enthusiastic and passionate to find a community she can contribute to.
Fur is a symbol of a mirror. The fur reflects Miss Brill in many ways, although she is not aware of this. Having been kept in a box in a dark room for a while, the fur becomes disconnected from the community, and so is Miss Brill. She never realizes the connection between the fur and her until a young couple slighted the fur with disparaging criticism. She does not get the full understanding of the criticism, but slowly realizes that she never can make a companion of the fur, as it unearths and attributes deadness to her.
The shabby ermine toque symbolizes the bad situation in which people who visit the park find themselves. Among these people are the prostitute and Miss Brill.
The chair in the park is a symbol of Miss Brill’s hope of finding a companion. Every Sunday when she visits the park she hopes that whoever sits next to her on her special seat will start a conversation. Miss Brill is often disappointed because none of those who sit next to starts any talk with her. In spite of the constant disappointment, she keeps on returning to the same bench in the hope of finding someone to talk with her someday.
The orchestra is a symbol for Miss Brill’s emotions. It symbolizes the merriment and exuberance of her emotions as she sits on her special seat. In the orchestra, she transits from being a mere spectator to being an actress in the pageant. Symbolically, this emphasizes Miss Brill’s longing and desire for a community where she can play a part in.
The cake is a symbol of Miss Brill’s self-worth. She passed by the bakers every Sunday which made a great difference to her. The feeling of self worthlessness after the denigrating comments by the young couple made her not to pick the cake from the bakers.