Fascism is the political philosophy that has resulted in a great number of wars and bloody battles. Though it was a particularly controversial movement, fascism has got millions of followers all over the globe. The protagonist of the famous Muriel Spark`s novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the eccentric teacher Miss Jean Brodie is considered to be one of the most popular literature characters who supported fascism and its key representatives. The following essay aims at analyzing how Miss Brodie symbolizes fascism and to what extent she is inspired and fascinated by the fascist ideology.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie tells about a small group of six little girls instructed by an unconventional teacher Miss Jen Brodie. While teaching them the lessons of life, the woman believes that she knows everything about their future. No wonder, Muriel Spark has chosen such a plot to demonstrate the influence of fascism on an individual. The fascist ideology states that each group of people should be centralized, and have a strong leader. Miss Jean Brodie was inspired by this philosophy because she adored orderliness. Furthermore, Jean Brodie is a highly idealistic character; this woman has an exaggerated romantic view of the world. She divides everything into the black and white forgetting that the world is full of other colors and shades. Initially, the girls listen to every word of the charismatic spinster. She is much more interesting than other teachers since she prefers unconventional forms of education. They absorb every word of their teacher learning more about the life, art, and fascism. Describing this ideology, the teacher shows the pictures of marching troops admiring their organization and methodology. After the lessons of Miss Brodie, one of her girls even describes her teacher as the “born fascist” (Spark, 1961). No surprise, the teacher openly praises the fascist leaders Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. She believes that Mussolini is one of the greatest men in the world since “he has performed feats of magnitude and unemployment is even farther abolished under him than it was last year” (Spark, 1961). It seems she is blind because of her beliefs and does not see the tyrannical essence of Mussolini`s authority. Forgetting about his rise to power, she admires his discipline and dedication. Telling her girls about Mussolini, she simply ignores his cruel methods and the devastation he caused by his politics. Miss Brodie`s support for fascism is evident when she convinces one of her girls, Joyce Emily, to fight for Francisco Franco. This leads to the terrible outcome – the death of a young girl. Just like the fascist leaders, she does not care about the feelings of her girls pursuing her selfish goals. As a true follower of the fascist principles, Miss Brody also points out her opposition to other teachers at school. She is not afraid to claim that her methods are much better than the methods of other teachers. She takes her manipulation and control to the immense level.
However, one should admit that even if Miss Brodie was the follower of the fascist ideology, it does not make her a bad person. She has an active life position and follows valuable principles that influenced her perception of the world. Indeed, Miss Brodie can serve as an example for all the determined people because she knows what she wants from life and what her place in the world is.
In conclusion, one should admit that there are a few interesting topics in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. However, the topic of fascist ideology can be considered one of the key ones since the protagonist, Miss Jean Brodie, is the embodiment of the fascist ideology. The naïve woman adores this philosophy and tries to make others follow it as well. It should be noted that this woman symbolizes fascism because of her exaggerated romantic perception of the world. She believes in the perfect state of order and the ideals that can never be reached. This novel is a clear representation of how the incorrect perception of the world can ruin the life of a single person.