Narrative Voice In The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie

1952 Words8 Pages
There are two definitions for the word ‘narrative’. One, in a literary sense, is ‘a spoken or written account of connected events; a story’. The other, in a social context, is ‘a representation of a particular situation or process in such a way as to reflect or conform to an overarching set of aims or values’. In everyday life, people subscribe to these social narratives as part of what it means to exist in a society. It is exactly this kind of acceptance of authority in ‘conforming’ to these narratives that this novel seeks to question. ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ is about the relationship, and frequent misalignment of authority and objectivity. This is primarily effected by Spark’s casting of the narrative voice in the role of ‘authority’ and, by subtle nuances throughout, her inviting the reader to question this authority, and to make their own ‘private judgements’(John Henry Newman) about the events of the novel, which might contrast with information purported by the narrator. The narrative voice in this case is a formal tool and acts as a foundation in making the point which pervades all aspects of the novel: that it is ethically dangerous to blindly accept authority as objective. This combination of a deconstruction of form, which is fuelled further by the non-linearity of the novel, and self-reflexivity, is achieved by how the narrative voice is contrived, placing the novel firmly in the post-modern genre. At first glance, it may seem as though this is a realist
Open Document