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Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life....
Published in 1961, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is probably Muriel Spark's best known novel. Set in 1930's Edinburgh, it deals with the charismatic schoolteacher Miss Brodie and her 'set', those girls she chooses from her pupils to form a select clique.
The novel has been adapted into a play, a film, and a mini-series. The best-known is probably the film, which starred Maggie Smith. She won an Oscar for her performance as Jean Brodie. The screenplay for the film stays fairly true to the spirit of the novel, but still changes quite a lot. Most noticeably, it prunes a few characters and gets rid of the flashbacks.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie provides examples of:
- Alone in a Crowd: Sandy, right at the end of the film.
- Because You Can Cope: I knew you would rise like a phoenix
- Big No: Assassin!
- Broken Bird: Sandy at the end of the film, not so much at the end of the novel
- Broken Pedestal: Miss Brodie certainly becomes this by the end, although it is questionable whether Sandy's perception of her has simply changed due to age and circumstance
- Cool Teacher: Played with. Miss Brodie definitely motivates her pupils to learn beyond the curriculum, and thumbs her nose at school authorities, but her impact on her pupils is questionable.
- Deceptive Disciple: Sandy.
- Devoted to You: Teddy Lloyd for Jean Brodie.
- The Ditz: Poor Mary McGregor
- Downer Ending
- Doublethink: Jean, in regards to her behaviour with Mr Lowther, and her hopes for Jenny and Mr Lloyd
- Et Tu, Brute?: Pivotal
- Fascist Italy: Where Miss Brodie takes her summer holidays.
- Girl Posse: Miss Brodie and her select girls, whom she calls la creme de la creme.
- Glorious Leader: Played with in various ways. Deliberate parallels can be drawn between her and big political examples of this trope. Also, although some of her motivations are selfish and destructive, some are genuinely naive.
- Gossipy Hens: The other female teachers at Marcia Blaine are not fond of Miss Brodie and her exploits.
- Heroic BSOD: This happens to Miss Brodie. Reality and circumstance begin to break down Jean's carefully-constructed and tightly-held romantic delusions, causing her to come to a psychological breaking point and dissolve into tears in front of her class - Jenny, who is Dante Gabriel Rossetti? Who is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Jenny!?
- Hot Teacher: Mr Lowther and Mr Lloyd certainly seem to think so. Mr Lloyd himself falls into this trope, with several of the girls swooning over him
- I Reject Your Reality: Jean.
- The Obi-Wannabe: What else can one call a teacher whose romantic delusions actually get one of her students killed?
- Politically-Motivated Teacher: And how.
- Romantic Runner-Up: Miss Brodie puts Mr Lowther in this role, she doesn't love him, but plans to marry him anyway. Later, Mr Lowther puts Miss Lockhart in this role.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Sandy becomes this by the end
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Teddy Lloyd is this to Jean's Wide-Eyed Idealist. Later, Sandy becomes this to Teddy Lloyd.
- Teacher-Student Romance: What Miss Brodie plans for one of her girls and Teddy Lloyd. Fulfilled, but not as planned.
- Tears of Remorse: Sandy's silent weeping at the end of the film could be construed as this.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Sandy delivers two stinging versions of this in the film, and one in the novel.
- Turncoat: Miss McKay longs for one of Miss Brodie's girls to fill this role
- Treacherous Advisor: Since many of Miss Brodie's ambitions for her pupils, especially Rose/Jenny, simply involve using them to vicariously fulfil her own psychological needs, she could easily be seen as this trope.