The Dangers of Social Conformity Exposed in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

1961 Words8 Pages
The Dangers of Social Conformity Exposed in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 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 classroom of Miss Jean Brodie, a fascist school teacher at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, and gives close encounter with the social and political climate in Europe during the era surrounding the second World War. Spark's novel is a narrative relating to us the complexities of politics and of social conformity, as well as of non-conformity. Through looking at the Brodie set and the reciprocities between these students and their teacher, the writer, in this novel, reviews the essence of group dynamics and brings in to focus the adverse effects that the power of authority over the masses can produce. Sparks, in so doing projects her skepticism toward the teacher's ideologies. This skepticism is played out through the persona of Sandy Stranger, who becomes the central character in a class of Marcia Blaine school girls. Sandy's character is even more focally sculpted than the teacher's favored disciples who came to be known as the Brodie Set; a small group of girls favored by Miss Jean Brodie in her Prime. The Brodie Set is a social system and a enigmatic network of social relations that acts to draw the behavior of its members toward the core values of the clique. The teacher Miss Jean Brodie projects upon this impressionable "set," her strong fascist opinions. She controls this group on the basis that she is in her prime. Her prime being the point in life when she is at the height of wisdom and insight. Sandy pejoratively uses the personality traits and ideolog... ... middle of paper ... ...t this small group level, conformity dispels individual judgement. Sandy projects to us that this kind of social conformity under the pressure of authority, is to be blamed for many social problems and adversities in the individual lives of the Brodie girls, and in society at large. Bibliography 1. Coon, Dennis. Psychology: Exploration and Application. West Publishing Company: 1980. 2. Costanzo, P. Conformity development as a function of self blame. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 14; 366-374: 1970. 3. Csikszentmihalyi, M. & Larson, R. Being Adolescent. Harper Collins Publisher: 1984. 4. Homans, G.C. Social Behavior: Its Elementary Forms. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: 1961. 5. Lodge, David. The Uses and Abuses of Omniscience: Method and Meaning in Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Ithaca, Cornell: 1971.

    More about The Dangers of Social Conformity Exposed in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

      Open Document