Miss Brill

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Fine old man and big old woman Character Analysis

This pair sits near Miss Brill on the stands, though they do not talk to each other and so Miss Brill has no one to listen to. They are dressed nicely and elegantly, but, just like everyone else in the stands, they seem tired and aged. After they leave, the boy and girl sit in their spot.

Fine old man and big old woman Quotes in Miss Brill

The Miss Brill quotes below are all either spoken by Fine old man and big old woman or refer to Fine old man and big old woman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Loneliness and Alienation Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Miss Brill published in 1991.
Miss Brill Quotes

Often people sat on the benches and green chairs, but they were nearly always the same, Sunday after Sunday, and—Miss Brill had often noticed—there was something funny about nearly all of them. They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they’d just come from dark little rooms or even—even cupboards!

Related Characters: Fine old man and big old woman
Page Number: 300
Explanation and Analysis:

Miss Brill's perception of the city's elders is ironic in its condescension: every measured observation she makes about this "odd, silent...old" group of people who frequent the gardens every Sunday is equally applicable to her. Like the other old people, she lives alone in a "dark little room", and her criticism of them as having "something funny" about them is exactly how the young couple demeans her at the story's end. 

No matter the apparent irony, there is a sense that Miss Brill's criticism is deliberately harsh, for although she is really among people she criticizes, the act of criticizing itself is a means of distance and dissociation from this group. By adopting the attitude of younger people, Miss Brill is deluding herself into thinking herself among them, effectively denying the own oddness, silence, and elderliness that they perceive in her. 


Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Miss Brill quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire Miss Brill LitChart as a printable PDF.
Miss brill.pdf.medium

Fine old man and big old woman Character Timeline in Miss Brill

The timeline below shows where the character Fine old man and big old woman appears in Miss Brill. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Miss Brill
Loneliness and Alienation Theme Icon
Connectedness Theme Icon
Youth and Age Theme Icon
In her “special” seat in the stands there are only two people, a fine old man and a big old woman. Miss Brill is disappointed that they do not talk and... (full context)