“Miss Jean Brodie in the prime of life” M. Spark in summary

The heroines of the novel are six girls-schoolgirls, united in the Brodie clan by the will of their beloved teacher, Miss Gene Brodie. The action takes place in Edinburgh in the thirties. Miss Brodie leads a class of little girls in the elementary branch of a respectable private school. In one of the first lessons in history, Miss Brody tells a tragic plot of her first love instead of a lecture – her fiancĂ© died in the war a week before the truce – than she touches the girls to tears. This is how her lessons on “Truth, Goodness and Beauty” begin with the help of the most unconventional methods. By giving herself to the upbringing of children, she gave them, according to her own favorite expression, “the fruits of her heyday.”

Miss Brodie at the time of her heyday, despite the unconventional methods, was not at all an exceptional phenomenon, or not entirely in her mind. Her uniqueness consisted only in the fact that she taught at such a conservative educational institution. In the thirties, such as Miss Brodie, there were legions: women from thirty and older who filled their war-destitute and ancient existence with vigorous activities in the field of art and social security, education and religion. Some were feminists and propagandized the most advanced ideas, others limited themselves to participation in women’s committees and church meetings. However, women of the first category did not teach, of course, in conservative schools, there they had no place. This is what Miss Brody’s colleagues thought. But Miss Brodie, surrounded by her chosen disciples, the Brodie clan, remained inaccessible to intrigue. “Unshakable, like a rock,” admire her admirers, while she proudly marches through the school corridor to the scornful greetings of her more ordinary colleagues.

Miss Brodie seems extraordinary, at least in the school setting. She is not a beauty and is not young at all, but at the time of her “bloom” she experiences flashes of genuine charm, and in such moments is unusually good. She is also extremely attractive to men and conquers the hearts of the two only male teachers in the school.

With the inauguration of Miss Brodie, the first steps of astonishing spiritual evolution take place, changing internally and externally just as rapidly as its growing pupils. While the girls are still studying under her supervision in the lower grades, Miss Brody turns lessons in mathematics, English or history into specific excursions into all areas of human culture, from eroticism to fascism: her passionate artistic nature, who does not know religious prohibitions, is equally worshiping both, and meanwhile Giotto and Maria Stewart.

Gradually, imperceptibly for itself, the risky conviction of her own sinlessness grows in her; during its heyday, it transcends the boundaries of any ethic and achieves a truly shocking degree of immorality.

But while its influence on the “Brodie’s clan” is boundless. It includes six girls: Monica Douglas, known for her mathematical abilities and wild outbursts of anger, sports Eunice Gardner, graceful Jenny Gray, slow-witted Mary McGregor, Sandy Stranger with extraordinarily tiny piggy eyes and later became famous for her sex appeal to Ros Stanley. They grow under the powerful spiritual influence of Miss Brodie, their inner life is completely filled with the analysis of observations of their teacher. One day during the tour Miss Brodie explains to the girls what, in fact, means teaching for her. When educating children, it highlights the qualities inherent in them by nature, they also require it to invest information alien to them in children. She convinces the “clan” that, growing up, each girl must find and realize her “vocation”,

Miss Brodie is moving toward the peak of...her heyday; Together with her, girls grow up and develop. It seems to her that no one will better guess the true calling of children, and exerts frantic efforts to instruct the girls on the only right, as it seems to her, way.

Each of the Brody clan lives an individual and unique destiny, quite different from the vocations conceived by Miss Brodie. Her posthumous role in their adult lives is much thinner and more difficult.

More tragic than the rest of the inheritance of Mary McGregor, unrequited durek for her friends and Miss Brodie. She dies at twenty-three in a burning hotel and, shortly before her death, in a sad moment decides that the happiest moments in her short life were those she had spent in the company of Miss Brodie and her “clan”, even if she was on the hunch. All the girls in their own way betray the ideals of Miss Brodie. Shortly before the death of cancer, their mentor survives at last from school under the pretext of preaching fascism to children. Miss Brodie and in fact almost naively admired the order and discipline in the countries of fascism along with monuments and fountains. And now Sandy Stranger, her confidant, is already on the verge of release telling the headmistress, the chief detective of Miss Brodie, to quibble precisely to political convictions and to force Miss Brodie to resign. Sandy passes the most difficult and contradictory way. Her betrayal leads her to believe that Miss Brodie’s activities are ultimately detrimental to her darlings. The fact is that Miss Brodie falls in love with the drawing teacher, Teddy Lloyd, a large Catholic. Realizing that this love is unrealizable, she, as if to spite herself, is in touch with Gordon Loiter, the music teacher. However, loving Teddy, she believes that one of the girls should replace her and become his mistress. She puts her whole soul into this wild idea, according to which Rose Stanley, the most feminine of the girls, must give herself to the artist instead of her. However, Rose is completely indifferent to Teddy, and Sandy becomes his mistress. The true artist’s muse at the same time was and remains Miss Brodie, and with amazement Sandy sees that, no matter who of the girls “clan” or painted Teddy, Miss Brodie always showed up in her. Sandy, possessing the cold, analyzing mind of a psychologist, can not reconcile himself to the mystery of the mysterious and powerful influence of the “amusing old maiden” surrounding everyone around him. Soon it turns out that one of Miss Brodie’s admirers, not belonging to the “clan”, lends itself to her agitation and flies to Spain to fight on the side of the fascist Franco. She dies on the way on the train. Then, horrified, Sandy gives out Miss Brodie to the headmistress, and she hints at this to Miss Brodie. The thought of betrayal undermines Miss Brodie’s indomitable spirit. Until her death, she does not stop torturing herself and others with fruitless speculation. In fact, as Sandy seems, the whole “clan” betrays Miss Brody, renouncing “vocations”. Miss Brodie saw in her girls “instinct and foresight,” worthy of a full and stormy life. Sandy, after betrayal, goes to the monastery, where she is unhappy and disappointed. Rose Stanley becomes a virtuous wife, although it contains a new Venus, “great mistress,” according to Miss Brodie. But they all feel that they have deceived themselves.

During the years of friendship with Miss Brodie, they are so imbued with her faith that they acquire an inner spiritual resemblance to it, which the artist Teddy Lloyd correctly caught in his paintings.


“Miss Jean Brodie in the prime of life” M. Spark in summary