The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr Character Analysis

The two sewing teachers at Blaine, the Kerr sisters are meek Calvinists who begin housekeeping for Mr. Lowther, and it seems as though one might even marry him. However, Miss Brodie crushes their prospects by becoming intimate with the singing teacher herself. Later, Miss Ellen Kerr discovers what is quite likely Miss Brodie’s nightdress under one of Mr. Lowther’s pillows, which she tells Miss Mackay about—but as much as she wishes to dismiss Miss Brodie, Miss Mackay recognizes that the nightdress is insufficient proof of scandal to justify Miss Brodie’s dismissal.

Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr Quotes in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr or refer to Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Authority and Social Groups Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie published in 2009.
Chapter 3 Quotes

The shuttle of the sewing machines went up and down, which usually caused Sandy and Jenny to giggle, since at that time everything that could conceivably bear a sexual interpretation immediately did so to them. But the absence of Miss Brodie and the presence of Miss Gaunt had a definite subtracting effect from the sexual significance of everything, and the trepidation of the two sewing sisters contributed to the effect of grim realism.

Related Characters: Sandy Stranger, Jenny Gray, Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

In fact, it was the religion of Calvin of which Sandy felt deprived, or rather a specified recognition of it. She desired this birthright; something definite to reject. It pervaded the place in proportion as it was unacknowledged. In some ways the most real and rooted people whom Sandy knew were Miss Gaunt and the Kerr sisters who made no evasions about their belief that God had planned for practically everybody before they were born a nasty surprise when they died.

Related Characters: Sandy Stranger, Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr, Miss Gaunt
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

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Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr Character Timeline in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr appears in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Authority and Social Groups Theme Icon
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
...two teachers who do not judge Miss Brodie at all are the two sewing teachers, Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr , who think all of their colleagues who teach academic subjects to be “above criticism.”... (full context)
Authority and Social Groups Theme Icon
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
...taught her class—far more rigorously and demandingly, to the girls’ shock. Even the sewing teachers Miss Ellen and Allison Kerr felt cowed by Miss Gaunt. Sandy and Jenny used to giggle watching the shuttles of... (full context)
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
Religion, Predestination, and Narrative Structure Theme Icon
Sandy recalls to herself that, during one sewing class, Miss Gaunt discussed her brother with Miss Ellen and Allison Kerr , who was the minister of the parish church the three women attended—a fact which... (full context)
Chapter 4
Authority and Social Groups Theme Icon
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
...as Mr. Lowther’s friend and confidante. The next Saturday, Miss Brodie tells the girls that Miss Ellen and Alison Kerr have temporarily taken on the role of housekeepers for Mr. Lowther, and she criticizes them... (full context)
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
...spring of 1933, Miss Brodie’s Greek lessons with Sandy and Jenny come to an end. The Kerr sisters have begun to enjoy caring for Mr. Lowther and have never been so perky or... (full context)
Authority and Social Groups Theme Icon
Education vs. Intrusion Theme Icon
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
When it becomes clear that the Kerr sisters have permanently taken up housekeeping for Mr. Lowther, Miss Brodie fancies that her lover is... (full context)
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
Insight, Instinct, and Transfiguration Theme Icon
Miss Brodie exults in her victory over the Kerr sisters . She attributes it, in a discussion with Sandy and Jenny, to her ancestry. She... (full context)
Authority and Social Groups Theme Icon
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
Religion, Predestination, and Narrative Structure Theme Icon
...discover evidence as to whether or not Miss Brodie stays the night with Mr. Lowther, Miss Ellen Kerr supposes she has: a nightdress allegedly belonging to Miss Brodie stashed under Mr. Lowther’s pillow.... (full context)
Chapter 5
Sexuality, One’s Prime, and Spinsterhood Theme Icon
Insight, Instinct, and Transfiguration Theme Icon
The narrative shifts back to around the time when Miss Ellen Kerr discovers what she believes to be Miss Brodie’s nightdress in Mr. Lowther’s house. Mr. Lowther... (full context)
Authority and Social Groups Theme Icon
Religion, Predestination, and Narrative Structure Theme Icon
...childhood, and which she feels deprived of. Sandy thinks that the Calvinists Miss Gaunt and the Kerr sisters are “the most real and rooted people” she knows, which she attributes to their belief... (full context)