The process of characterization is mainly used by writers to make the characters seem as if they were real in the eyes of the readers. One main method of making this reality come to pass is in the use of protagonists and antagonists. In Katherine’s Miss Brill, the author uses Miss Brill as the protagonist while Phoenix is presented as the protagonist in Eudora Welty’s A Worn Path. Despite having been written at different times and by different writers, both books have the same insights as regards to the use of this concept of protagonists. The reality portrayed in both books is that both protagonists are similar but still similar in many aspects. The use of protagonists in the two books is effective in making the characters seem real.
While Miss Brill is displayed as a susceptible English woman, Phoenix Jackson is portrayed as a put up African- American woman. However, both women are in their old age and are therefore almost similar in many aspects. The fact that both women have undergone discrimination in their different worlds points out to the reality that discrimination has no face. They both find themselves in these circumstances, albeit differently, as a result of their different racial backgrounds. Miss Brill has been awfully discriminated against because of her old age from all corners. At one instance, a young couple points at her and describes her as ‘that stupid old thing’ and also criticizes her fashion for wearing fur that is ‘similar to a dead fish’ (Mansfield, pp 56). Phoenix finds herself being discriminated against not just because of her age but also because of her race.
The personalities of the two women are also different and work towards making the two characters seem real. Miss Brill is lonely and lives in small town in France and is recorded as being a vulnerable English woman. Her passion for listening to music and conversations is unrivaled in the small town. Her desire to remain active at most times makes her eavesdrop and judge people to herself without exposing her thoughts. On the other hand, Phoenix is a put-up woman of African-American decent. She has been on a voyage to get her grandson medicine and is thought to have a strong will power despite having been through so many struggles (Welty pp 82).
The two women have different habits that are important in making them seem as real, albeit differently. Miss Brill, for instance is described as having a tendency of frequenting the park each and every Sunday just to listen to the music and the conversations. Phoenix Jackson is then portrayed as having a habit of pretending that nothing is wrong. This fact is evidenced when she does not want to believe that her grandson is dead and actually going through the woods just to get him medicine. This scenario is similar to what most grandmothers would do if faced with a similar situation.
Despite having different personalities, habits and circumstances, the two protagonists are still presented as if they were real in the eyes of the readers. Their stories of old age and the sufferings they have to withstand are testament of the evil society that is on Earth regardless of one’s race. Their different (and in some cases) similar attributes are effective in making them seem as if they were real and therefore a part of the readers.
Mansfield, Katherine. Miss Brill., 2015. Print
Welty, Eudoria. A Worn Path. Mankato, Minnesota: Creative Education, 1991. Print
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