What perspective does Muriel spark's novel the prime of miss jean brodie offer on education and art?

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, I'll answer for you concerning education, and let someone else deal with art. 

The enotes Study Guide on the novel says the following:

At issue in this short novel are two competing notions of education: the nonconformist individuality of Miss Jean Brodie’s set and the team spirit and school loyalty insisted upon by Miss Mackay, the headmistress of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls. The story is told in multiple time frames so that the girls of the Brodie set can reflect back from a mature perspective upon the events of their school days.

Unfortunately, for the students, neither perspective on education seems to be ideal in the novel.  Brodie is gifted and attractive and is highly influential over her students, but she is also egotistical and subversive and manipulative.  She ignores the traditional subjects such as math and science, and centers on love and politics and art, but her views are a bit eccentric and, when it comes to fascism, dangerous.

Conventional education in the novel seems a bit stilted and stagnant and unimaginative, although most impressions the reader gets about traditional education come only from its leader, Miss Mackay, who seems ineffectual and lacks imagination.

Ironically, the subversive nature of Brodie's teachings comes back to haunt her, when Sandy proves subversive toward Brodie, and supplies the ineffectual Mackay with the evidence and motive against Brodie that Mackay's been looking for all along.