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The power of imagination can be very influential. Many people use imagination to mask the loneliness of life leaving them with a fake sense of happiness in their own world. However the fake sense of happiness is always only temporary, and if one starts to rely on imagination the outcome may be worse than how one felt at the beginning. In the short story “Miss Brill”, Katherine Mansfield shows how powerful imagination can be and how the overuse of imagination can lead to negative effects. Katherine Mansfield develops the idea that initially when an individual relies on imagination they will have all their dreams and hopes fulfilled…until an external force shatters their fantasy leaving them with just the darkness of reality.

At the beginning of this short story Miss Brill is really satisfied with the world she thinks she is living in. She does not know that her satisfaction is only driven by her imagination. Miss Brill is very happy with her life. Every day Miss Brill goes to the Jardins Publiques to observe other people in the park and listen to the band perform. While observing other people Miss Brill does not think of bad things in her life but thinks of herself as being more superior than other people in the park by judging other people. As Miss Brill is observing other people in the park, she sees people sitting on benches and green chairs, but she observes that they are nearly always the same. 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 cupboards! By coming to this quick and insane conclusion Miss Brill is left with a happy sense of superiority. Miss Brill not only thinks of herself as being superior to the others around her, but she also thinks she is part of all the action around her, Miss Brill imagines herself as an actress playing a role at the park. This allows her to feel more important than she really is.

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Just as Miss Brill is starting to get all emotional and happy from all the new “discoveries” she made, Miss Brill hears something that completely bruises her ego and shatters her fantasy. While Miss Brill is on cloud nine, happily imagining a boy and a girl sitting beside her. The boy wanted to kiss the girl, but the girl said she didn’t want to kiss him there. The boy got a little agitated and asked: “Is it because of the stupid old thing at the end of the bench over there?”. The girl also added that the “stupid old things” fur looks like a fried whiting. Miss Brill heard this and realized that they were talking about her. After hearing this Miss Brill hurried out of the park and back to her home. She did not even go to the bakery to get a honey cake which is almost like a ritual to her. After being introduced to reality in such an abrupt way it seems as if it would have been better to have never imagined any of her fantasies. The wonderful world that Miss Brill has once been living in is now engulfed in the darkness of reality.

However, a little bit of imagination is never a bad thing. Artists, bookwriters, and movie producers all use imagination to make a living. Kids use their imagination to have fun and play all the time. We humans use imagination a lot, however, the overuse of imagination to the point of insanity never leads to positive effects. Miss Brill, unfortunately, overused their imagination, this led to her thinking that everything around her was part of a play, and the fur that she had worn that particular day was talking to her! But on the other hand, just the right amount of imagination can lead to many great things. Many great artists, writers, movie producers, and scientists have used their imaginations to achieve many great accomplishments. Albert Einstein famously said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Miss Brill had used imagination to cope with reality, but ultimately what had protected her eventually destroyed her. Although imagination can positively enrich a person’s life, however, if it starts to take over a person’s sense of reality it can have very negative side effects.

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