July, 2017: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

(Book #87) Marcia hosted this meeting and the email sent to it after was like the girls’ prank letter from the book:

Our Own Delightful Marcia, Your dinner has moved me deeply as you may imagine.  But alas, I must decline to ever dine in your lovely garden again.  My reasons are twofold.  Your dedication to the culinary skills is like the art of Madame Pavlova, putting my humble efforts to shame, and my love of food such as you prepare, the delicious cheese, salmon, capers, the stunning (both in appearance and taste) Scottish Shepherd’s Pie, the clever salad and the perfect touch of dessert reaches out to me, desiring to be consumed in such quantities that by body mass might go beyond the bounds of Time and Space or at least above the available numbers on my scale. But I was proud of giving myself to the menu when we were all assembled in your garden and the storm of appreciation raged through each of the dinner guests. If I am in a certain condition, I shall wear larger pajama pants until the peril of overeating subsides. This is no way suggests that I am swearing off overindulgence and I may permit such misconduct to occur again from time to time as an outlet — for while I am well past my Prime, I have an unflagging appetite. Allow me in conclusion, to congratulate you warmly upon a superb meal as well as, as well as, yes, as well as a lovely setting.With fondest joy,Teresa                                                                              OK that’s my best take on the Muriel Spark thank you — it was indeed lovely and delicious and comfortable  — and the Shepherd’s Pie was incredible! 

Our discussion about the book centered mostly on the character of Miss Jean Brodie. Though we’re not certain what to think of Miss Jean Brody’s influence on her girls, we’re guessing we’re not meant to concern ourselves too deeply, but rather enjoy the wonderful quirkiness of the writing. I enjoyed Miss Brodie’s views on team spirit; her use of the Mona Lisa as the go-to for an expression of composure; and her argument against a poster espousing Safety First. I was also completely taken in by Sandy and Jenny’s many projects and adventures and the running conversations that Sandy kept up with Alan Breck and Sergeant Anne Grey. Then came the awful quiz:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie QUIZ

The movie starts with close-ups on Miss Brodie and other teachers on their way to school, how does the book start?

  1. With a discussion of Miss Brodie’s before school routine.
  2. With a description of the students and teachers filing into school.
  3. With a description of the Brodie set standing with boys and their bikes near the school gates.
  4. With the Brodie set assembled under the elm tree listening to the story of Hugh Carruthers.

In the movie, there are only four girls in the Brodie set: Mary Macgregor, Monica Douglas, Sandy Stranger and Jenny Gray. How many are in the book?

  1. The number is the same as in the movie — four girls.
  2. There are five girls in the Brodie set, the four above and Eunice Gardiner, who does the splits.
  3. There are six girls in the Brodie set, the four above, Eunice Gardiner, and Rose Stanley, the one with sex appeal.
  4. There are seven girls in the Brodie set, the four above, Eunice, Rose and the delinquent rich girl Joyce Emily Hammond.

In the movie, Sandy and Jenny are shown dancing while they discuss Miss Brodie and writing a letter in the library.  What are some of their projects/adventures in the book, circle all that apply.

  1. They are digging a hole to Australia
  2. They are writing The Mountain Eyrie about Hugh Carruthers being mistakenly reported dead.
  3. They play Witches by the Fire.
  4. They write a love letter from Miss Brodie to Gordon and hide it in the back of a cave.

In the movie, there is no mention of the four houses of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls.  What are the names of the four houses in the book?

  1. Holyrood, Argyll, Melrose and Biggar
  2. Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff
  3. Cards, Blues, Lies, and Pancakes
  4. Risingsun, Illrepute, Usher, and Jackbuilt

In the movie,  Mary Macgregor dies when her train is attacked on the way to Spain to fight for Franco. How does she die in the book?

  1. She doesn’t die in the book.
  2. She dies in a fire in a hotel.
  3. She dies in a fire in the science lab.
  4. She dies just as she did in the movie.

Bonus Question #1:  Miss Jean Brodie doesn’t agree with the Prime Minister’s poster declaring Safety First. What three things does she declare are first?

Bonus Question #2: Who does Miss Jean Brodie use as an example of having an expression of composure come foul, come fair?.

Bonus Question #3:  What color were the school uniforms?

Bonus Question #4 Did Muriel Spark base the character of Miss Jean Brodie on a person she knew?

A favorite quote: “Allow me in conclusion, to congratulate you warmly upon your sexual intercourse, as well as your singing.

Answers: 3, 3, 1, [1,2,3,&4], 2, Beauty, Truth & Goodness, Mona Lisa, Violet and Yes, Christine Kay.