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Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie depicts the coming of age of six adolescent girls in Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1930’s. The story brings us into the life and teachings of Miss Jean Brodie, a fascist school teacher, at the proper Marcia Blaine School for Girls, which comments on the social expectations in Europe in the era surrounding the second World War. Spark’s novel is a narrative which demonstrates the complexities of conforming to one’s society, as well as of non-conformity.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie unfolds several dimensions of femininity. We are presented with a protagonist whom is a distinguished female role model in her imperious, manipulating and sexual powers, powers which we see her use to obtain an apparent influence over the “Brodie set,” or the “creme de la creme.” We see Miss Brodie play a God like figure in the novel, leading, teaching and imposing her opinions on them in hopes they will overturn the typical womanly role and become like her. This literature challenges conventional ideas of gender; from having the woman play a meek character to having them play a strong authoritative figure.

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