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What is the characterization of Miss Brodie and Sandy in ''The Prime of Miss Jean...

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madhulika | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 25, 2009 at 10:10 PM via web

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What is the characterization of Miss Brodie and Sandy in ''The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie''?

Mention the role played by Brodie as a teacher and Sandy as a student.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 26, 2009 at 4:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Miss jean Brodie certainly has an extremely eccentric style of teaching, maybe not so much to us nowadays, but certainly for her time. The teachings of educational psychology professionals and teachers such as Sigmund Freud, Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner had yet to fully kick in. It wasn't until the 1944 Education Act in the UK that any attempt at child-centred education was formalised into the system. Ye there we have Miss Jean Brodie acting out the role of confidante rather than teacher, best buddy rather than, or as well as, tutor. In some ways she is ahead of her time treating the girls more as equals than underlings and inspiring them.She herself seems confused by her role in the school - unlike Miss Mackay, the head who seems to believe in the old-fashioned style of teaching where we present the facts and they learn them. Miss Brodie acts up to a starring role in some kind of movie in her head where she and her favored pupils are a race apart - even going so far as to tell them they are 'the creme de la creme!' She is not as clever as she thinks she is though and in her confused state where she has blurred the boundaries between friend and teacher she thinks she knows the girls. She doesn't.

All the time, still waters run deep and it isn't always cleverness that wins the day. There are virtues in being observant and wise too. Sandy marks every move Miss Brodie makes and eventually goes a long way to working her out. As a student, Sandy learns to watch and wait - then pounce. She identifies weaknesses and is ruthless.What Sandy learns most about is her own power as a woman, as a girl student and as a catalytic force - but for good or evil?

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