The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

“Hold up your books, prop them up in your hands, in case of intruders. If there are any intruders, we are doing our history lesson…our poetry…English grammar.”

Miss Jean Brodie is a teacher at a school for girls in 1930s Edinburg, Scotland. Though she has in the past and continuously runs into problems with the headmistress concerning her unorthodox teaching methods she insists that her instruction is supreme. Miss Brodie is in her prime you see, and one’s prime must never be wasted. And Miss Brodie does not intend to; she selects a particular group of girls to train up-called the Brodie set – and she expertly engages in affairs and various events and relates her experiences so that the girls may have the very best instruction.

“If only you small girls would listen to me I would make of you the crème de la crème.”

Each of the 6 members is of course devoted to Miss Brodie and each is known throughout the school for different abilities or lack thereof. She wants them to be independent, passionate, and worldly and she loads them with advice.

“Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me.”

And as the story proceeds more about Miss Brodie is revealed particularly a window into her psyche and the reasons for her teachings. It is not certain if every single girl is devoted to Miss Brodie but it is certain what happens to each in the future and that each of them has received a valuable lesson.

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