Miss Jean Brodie regards herself as a mentor and skilled educator, and she views her dominance over the students as positive force. Her refrain about making impressionable girls hers “for life” reveals those attitudes. In reality, she interferes in the lives of the girls in her “set” and pushes them...
Miss Jean Brodie regards herself as a mentor and skilled educator, and she views her dominance over the students as positive force. Her refrain about making impressionable girls hers “for life” reveals those attitudes. In reality, she interferes in the lives of the girls in her “set” and pushes them to get involved in inappropriate and even dangerous activities.
Miss Brodie is unpopular with other teachers and the school administration, and one aspect of her manipulative behavior is to involve former students with her plots to resist being fired or asked to resign, which she swears she will never do.
Miss Brodie's special girls were taken home to tea and bidden not to tell the others, they were taken into her confidence, they understood her private life and her feud with the headmistress and the allies of the headmistress.
Jean Brodie’s manipulation is seen specifically in her treatment of the student Rose, whom she encourages to become sexually active. The teacher is involved in a romantic—but probably not sexual—relationship with a married man, Teddy Lloyd, the school’s art teacher. Brodie pushes him and Rose toward each other. The teenaged Rose encourages "Miss Brodie's amazement and then her awe and finally her abounding enthusiasm for the role which Rose then appeared to be enacting: that of a great lover, magnificently elevated above the ordinary run of lovers."
In regard to her affair with Mr. Lowther, the music teacher, Brodie first intervenes to push aside two other teachers (who are sisters) who have been helping him with domestic arrangements. She also has the students visit her at his cottage as a cover for the affair. After a group of them visits Mr. Lloyd at his home, she has them report on their observations, as a way to make Lowther jealous.
She did not attempt to conceal from her munching host her keen interest in the art master. Mr. Lowther's eyes looked mournful and he ate on…[She] spoke to him in a slightly more Edinburgh way than usual, so as to make up to him by both means for the love she wasgiving to Teddy Lloyd instead of to him…
Brodie has a romantic misinterpretation of Fascism, as she admires Mussolini’s “fascisti.” This enthusiasm is transferred onto Joyce Emily; Brodie recommends that she go to Spain and fight with General Franco’s forces. Although Joyce Emily does not actually enter the war, her death is Brodie’s responsibility because she is killed en route to Spain. Brodie later tells Sandy,
“[S]ometimes I regretted urging young Joyce Emily to go to Spain to fight for Franco, she would have done admirably for him, a girl of instinct, a———"
"Did she go to fight for Franco?" said Sandy.
"That was the intention. I made her see sense. However, she didn't have the chance to fight at all, poor girl."