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  1. #1

    Default The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - The Book

    I’ve just finished reading the book, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.” Here are some quotes and notes if any readers would like to discuss.

    Chapter 1

    The Brodie Set:
    Monica Douglas - mathematics, anger, fat peg like legs,
    Rose Stanley - sex, blonde, trains, climbs trees, tomboy
    Eunice Gardner - small, neat, gymnastics, swimming
    Sandy Stranger - small eyes, recites, ‘Camelot’
    Jenny Gray - actress, Sandy’s best friend, graceful, prettiest
    Mary Macgregor - silent lump, too stupid to lie or cover-up, always to blame
    Outsider - Joyce Emily Hammond - rich girl, delinquent, uses 2 names

    The 10 year old girls wore panama hats, each with a definite difference. Hatlessness was an offence. from the Denver Post 6/27/06: Patsy Ramsey loved hats. Per sister Pam Paugh at PR's funeral "It will be a sea of hats."

    They wore uniforms of deep violet.

    Miss Jean Brodie: “I am putting old heads on your young shoulders, and all my students are the crčme de la crčme.”

    “It is always important to recognise the year’s of one’s prime, always remember that.”

    Poster - “Safety First” Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. Miss Jean Brodie: “But Safety doesn’t come first, Goodness, Truth and Beauty come first. Follow me.”

    Three benches arranged about the elm.

    Painter - “Italian painter, Giotto, he is my favorite.”

    “I have frequently told you, and the holidays just past have convinced me, that my prime has truly begun. You must then live it to the full.”

    Comic paper - MJB threw it in the waste basket, lifted it, tore it up beyond redemption and put it back again.“One’s prime is the moment one was born for.”

    It is well, when in difficulties, to say never a word, neither black nor white. Speech is silver, but silence is golden.”

    A lectern held an open Bible with the text underlined in red ink, “O where shall I find a virtuous woman, for her price is above rubies.”
    Proverbs 31:10 King James Version

    10 Who can a find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
    11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
    12 She will do him good not evil all the days of her life.
    13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
    14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
    15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion for her maidens.
    16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands, she planteth a vineyard.
    17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
    18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
    19 She layeth her hands to the spindle and her hands hold the distaff.
    20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
    21 She is not afraid of the snow, for all her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
    22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
    23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
    24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
    25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
    26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
    27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
    28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
    29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
    30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
    31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
    Last edited by Cranberry; October 10, 2007, 8:36 am at Wed Oct 10 8:36:32 UTC 2007.

  2. #2

    Default Chapter 2

    Chapter 2

    Sandy’s 10th birthday. Tea at Sandy’s house w/best friend Jenny Gray. Pineapple cubes w/cream. Specialty of the day was that they were left to themselves. Authentic taste and appearance of happiness. Scooped up in her spoon. Both girls saved the cream for the last, then ate it in spoonfuls. ”You know,” Sandy said, “these are supposed to be the happiest days of our lives.”

    One armed Mr. Lloyd - Art Master to Senior girls. “Research” piecing together clues from remembered conversations, illicitly overheard, and passages from big dictionaries.

    Sandy’s mother - flashy winter coat trimmed with fluffy fox fur like the Duchess of York, while other mother’s wore tweed.

    Girl’s lifted the tea table to the corner of the room. In piano stoop, “The Mountain Eyrie”, story about Miss Brodies lover, Hugh Carruthers. Jenny: With one movement, he flung her to the farthest end of the hut. Boots. Sandy wrote about Hugh holding Sandy captive. “Don’t worry, we won’t publish it till our prime.”

    Double life. It was well known that millionaires led double lives. Tower’d Camelot. Sandy had to lead a double life of her own, in order never to be bored. Down she came and found a boat. And round the prow she wrote, The Lady of Shalott. What means did your Ladyship write these words? A pot of white paint and a brush.

    Miss Brodie: ”Would that I had been given charge of you girls when you were seven.”

    “One day, Sandy, you will go too far. I observe a frivolous nature. I fear you will never belong to life’s elite. Or, as one might say, the crčme de la crčme.”

    In Mr. Lowther's music class, Jenny sang, "Come see where golden-hearted spring..." (lyrics by Clifford Bax. I can't find the complete lyrics to that song, still looking). His works also include the quote, "No one becomes forty without incredulity and a sense of outrage." Also lyrics to a song "Youth":
    Within a primrose wood I lay content
    Upon a certain blithe blue day of spring,
    And ever near, my lover came or went
    And gathering violets ever did she sing
    So fair she was I laughed for love,
    and cried, "Still can I see how yesterday you stood,
    Your whole fair frame rejoicing in its pride
    And lovelier than the whole spring-lovely wood!"
    Ah then she paused, and coming where I sat
    Smiled, and with one dear hand upon my head
    "O Love, my love, may you remember that
    When I am no more beautiful," she said.

    Jenny @ 40 and married 16 years, saw a man in Rome and experienced the erotic wonder again.

    Next, from the 4/03/01 NE interview: In Atlanta PR served up shamrock shaped St Patrick's Day cookies, wearing a purple suit and white blouse. JR and PR worry BR is keeping things inside and they fear it will lead to one emotional blow up as an adult. JR: "They keep a lot inside and they don't really start thinking about it until they get to be 40 years old and that's when it hurts." thank you ACandyRose website.

    Go to science room to have ink stain removed. Miss Lockhart dab ink spot. “Art is greater than science. Art comes first, and then science. Art & religion first, then philosophy, lastly science. That is the order of the great subjects of life, that’s their order of importance.”

    Tea at Miss Brodies. Tweed coat with beaver collar.

    Sandy, reading “Kidnapped”* was having a conversation with the hero, Alan Breck. “Sandy, you must take this message, my life depends upon it” & the Cause, no less.” *Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson: A 1751 sailing adventure, features the hero Alan Breck, with a big ego and dual personality. Near the end of the story he is being led to the gallows, sacrificing himself for another man's birthright. site has a character and plot synopsis of the movie version.

    She understood them as a body, with Miss Brodie for the head, in unified compliance to the destiny of Miss Brodie, as if God had willed them to birth for that purpose. All knit together for her need.

    Mussolini’s fascists. Group fright. Alan Breck, crunching beneath his feet the broken glass in the blood on the floor of the ship’s round house. And taking a knife from the table, he cut off one of the silver buttons from his coat. Wherever you show this button, the friends of Alan Breck will come around you. *Cranberry notes: IMO, this paragraph reminds me of the broken glass, the knife, PR's jacket/the R's mention of Priscilla White's preference for silver in DOI/the similar coat/jacket, and the friends coming around 12/26/96.

    The Grassmarket slums. Sandy’s first experience of a foreign country. They were shouting at each other and the man hit the woman twice across the head. “I’ll be your man.”

    Sandy became Sister Helena of the Transfiguration.

    “The influence of one’s teens is very important, said the man (visitor at the convent) “Oh yes”, said Sandy “even if they provide something to react against.”

    Biggest influence? “Miss Jean Brodie in her prime.” …since she had published her psychological book, which was unexpectedly famed. The ‘nature of moral perception‘, called, “The Transfiguration of the Commonplace.” Churches contained people, no ghosts at all.

    Miss Brodie, in her prime, attended evening classes in comparative religion at the University. So her pupils heard all about it and learned for the first time that some honest people didn’t believe in God, nor even Allah. Broad Chambers St. The meaning of education: ‘to lead out’.

    Composing a formal invitation to Alan, a year and a day after flight through the heather. Dinner on Tuesday, 6th of January at 8 o’clock. Then Sandy excused herself from tea at Miss Brodies. She had a cold coming on. She took out her secret notebook. The true love story of Miss Brodie, “The Mountain Eyrie.”
    Last edited by Cranberry; April 18, 2007, 9:01 am at Wed Apr 18 9:01:51 UTC 2007.

  3. #3

    Default Chapter 3

    Chapter 3

    Miss Brodie: spinsterhood with voyages of discovery into new ideas and energetic practices in art or social, welfare, education or religion. ‘Progressive spinsters’ didn’t teach in traditional schools like Marcia Blaine’s School for Girls. MJB was a trifle out of place. But not out of place among her own kind: University professors, Drs., big warehouse owners, who had endowed these daughters w/shrewd wits, logical educations, hearty spirits and private means.

    Miss Jean Brodie: outwardly nothing odd-inwardly was a different matter and it remained to be seen what extremities her nature worked her. She was still in a state of fluctuating development. One whose nature was growing under the eyes, as the girls themselves were under formation. The principles governing the ending of her prime would have astonished herself, at the beginning of it.

    “Who opened the window?” Miss Brodie asked. 6 inches is perfectly adequate. More is vulgar.”

    2 supporters: Mr. Gordon Lowther-the singing master and Mr. Teddy Lloyd-the Sr. girls art master, the only men on the staff. Both in love with Miss Jean Brodie, rivals for her attention. The girls knew it before she, or they did. Teddy Lloyd-one arm, the right he painted with.

    Miss Brodie grasped Mary’s arm, jerked her to her feet & propelled her to the door, where she thrust her outside and shut her out, returning as one who had solved the whole problem. Indeed she had violent action that sobered the girls. Monica pinched Sandy’s arm skin with a nasty half turn. Miss Jean Brodie: Golf with Jenny and Sandy. Lloyd kissing MJB.

    Monica swung the attache case which held her books so that it hit the girls who stood in its path and made them stand back from her. “She’s losing her temper” said Eunice, skipping. Re-enactment “only playing” said Sandy.

    Sandy and Jenny recasting MJB in their minds. morning-scorning. MJB: “Good Mawning,” flattening their scorn beneath the chariot wheels of her superiority and deviating her head towards them no more than an insulting half-inch. She held her head up, up, as she walked.

    The sewing sisters Miss Ellen and Miss Alison Kerr - 2 younger sisters of the third, dead, elder sister whose guidance of their lives had never been replaced.

    Rose-no curiosity about sex at all, she never reflected upon it. ‘She had instinct,’ Miss Brodie said. Miss Brodie, shriveled and betrayed, retired before her time, “I am past my prime.” It was a good prime,” said Sandy. MJB: “We never became lovers, not even after you left Edinburgh, when the temptation was strongest.” I renounced him, he was a married man. I renounced the great love of my prime.” She had reckoned on her prime lasting till she was 60. Last and final year 56. This was her last year in the world and in another since it was Sandy’s.

    Late autumn, MJB away 2 weeks. ’Oh dear,’ said Rose out loud one day when they were settled to essay writing, “I can’t remember how you spell possession: Are there two s’s or -?” "A hundred lines of Marmion"* Miss Gaunt flung at her. *Marmion by Sir Walter Scott - This long poem contains the familiar Christmas verses, "Heap on more wood! - the wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will, We'll keep our Christmas merry still."...and also from XVIII (18): "O, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!"

    “My brother is up in the morning at 5:30, my brother organized a…” Sandy-Jane Eyre done with Alan, taken up with Mr. Rochester, with whom she now sat in the garden. Sandy saw her face as that of the housekeeper in Jane Eyre.

    Mr. Lowther out 2 weeks too. “It may be MB has the same complaints as Mr. Lowther.” MJB: my love for Teddy was an obsession, entered an affair with Lowther, he was a bachelor and it was more becoming. It was not on those grounds I was betrayed. Sandy (to self) “It is 7 years since I betrayed this tiresome woman.”

    Miss Brodie now played accompaniment piano. 2nd soprano on, “How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot”* annual concert. For Sr. classes: Modern vs. Classical. MJB ‘Not everyone is capable of a classic education’ showing MB’s contempt for the Modern side. Mr. Lloyd’s painting family portraits. *Hymn by William Blake from 'Songs of Innocence & of Experience'

    Sailing in a fishing boat/small seaport. Hugh was now a painter, MJB making her new love story fit the old. Sandy was fascinated by this method of making patterns with facts, admiration for the technique.

    Sandy & Jenny completed the love correspondence between Miss Brodie and the singing master at half term, sat at the mouth of a cave to finish the work. Not an ordinary bed, placed Miss Brodie on the lofty lion’s back of Arthur’s Seat, with only the sky for a roof and bracken for a bed, with an accompanying flash and crash of a thunderstorm. It was here Lowther found her. “Took her,” Jenny said. The last letter of the series beyond the bounds of Time and Space. Sandy found a damp hole half hidden by a stone at the back of the cave and pressed it into the notebook and never saw it again. “With fondest joy.”
    Last edited by Cranberry; December 13, 2006, 1:54 pm at Wed Dec 13 13:54:22 UTC 2006.

  4. #4

    Default Chapter 4

    Chapter 4

    It was impossible to know how much Miss Jean Brodie planned by deliberation, or how much she worked by instinct alone. However, in this, the first test of her strength, she had a victory.

    Plumbing the deep hearts core. Hidden possibilities in all things. Sandy spent hours forming the Greek characters in neat rows in her notebooks. Jenny took pride in drawing scientific apparatus for her chemistry notes. Sisters: lay out provision for his breakfast, his laundry, and keep house for him. Miss Ellen supervised the woman who came to clean, while Miss Alison did the week’s shopping. Miss Gaunt, the minister’s sister, approved of their arrangement, and encouraged a permanent one.

    Her soaring and diving spirit.

    Just as excessive sense of guilt can drive people to excessive action, so was MJB driven to it by an excessive lack of guilt. They in some way partook of the general absolution she had assumed to herself. Her actions were outside of the context of right or wrong. It was 25 years before Sandy could look back and recognise that MJB’s defective sense of self-criticism had not been without it beneficent and enlarging effects. “It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.”

    Mr. Lowther sang, “O mother, mother, make my bed, O make it soft and narrow, For my true love died for me today, I’ll die for him tomorrow.”

    He looked at her with love and she looked at him severely and possessively.

    It was a large gabled house with a folly-turret. There’s so many twists and turns in the wooded path leading up from the road, the front lawn so narrow, that the…”

    The library, glass bookcases. Bowl of roses. A great house to explore, roam p the big stairs. Large blue jug.

    Miss Ellen found MJB’S nightdress under a pillow of the double bed where Mr. L slept. She found it while changing linens. Folded neatly. It was crepe de Chine.

    Miss Mackay: “What did you do with the garment?”

    On the dining room table stood large bowls of fruit, with boxes of dates piled on top of them, as if this were Christmas and the kitchen that of a holiday hotel.

    A new portrait of himself. Family portraits. Diagonal line across the canvas. What makes it amusing? They are all facing square and they all look serious. You are suppose to laugh at it.

    Sunset streaked with blood and puffed with avenging purple and gold as if the end of the world had come without intruding on everyday life.
    Last edited by Cranberry; December 3, 2006, 3:27 am at Sun Dec 3 3:27:56 UTC 2006.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Not Boulder, Colorado


    There are 6 chapters in the book. Every time I read it I find new things.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Somewhere over the rainbow


    The pineapple and cream part gives me goosebumps. And not because I am allergic to citrus fruits.
    "We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." - C.S. Lewis


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Not Boulder, Colorado


    In my recent reread, I noticed Brodie is "the head" of the set. She said if anyone is going to get rid of her they will have to assassinate her. JonBenet suffered a fatal blow to the head.

    The question of the spelling of possession is the one that gets me.

  8. #8


    Miss Ellen found MJB’S nightdress under a pillow of the double bed where Mr. L slept. She found it while changing linens. Folded neatly. It was crepe de Chine.
    This reminds me of how JonBenet's pink pajama top appeared to be on her bed.


  9. #9


    Thank you all for your input on the threads. I'm sorry I had to leave today - it has been hectic. The first chapter introduces the Brodie set and how very different they are. Predetermination and the revealing of how one turn or one thought changes everything. Hopefully I will have more time tomorrow for there is much to discuss.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Not Boulder, Colorado


    "I've [Lloyd] done one or two preliminary sketches. don't you think that setting's rather good for Monica? Here's one of Eunice in her harlequin outfit, I thought she looked rather well in it." From TPOMJB.

    In one of the youtube videos posted by Why_Nut, JonBenet is wearing a harlequin outfit.

  11. #11


    The harlequin outfit reference was interesting to me, because it was an item, IMO, that didn't relate to the events of 12/25/96. Although certainly the pageantry association is there. Small fragments are mentioned in a curious fractured way.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Not Boulder, Colorado


    There are items that are both in the book and in the crime. Then there are items that are in the book and in Patsy's life outside the crime. Either way, a serious connection to and absorption of the works of Muriel Spark is indicated. To me, this fact is the signature of this crime. Some things are obvious such as the pineapple and the spelling of possession. Many others can be found with close scrutiny, such as;

    But in any case there was now very little they [the Brodie set] could say without implicating themselves. By the time their friendship with Miss Brodie was of seven years' standing, it had worked itself into their bones, so that they could not break away without, as it were, splitting their bones to do so. From TPOMJB

    This can be taken as an explaination for the head blow when strangulation by itself was enough to cause death.

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