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Muriel Spark's preoccupation with man's inability to control his own destiny seems to be accompanied by a mischievous curiosity concerning the supernatural and a wish to delve into its secrets. Miss Brodie exerts a strange power over her pupils. There are prophetic utterances in "The Girls of Slender Means" which announce the coming of tragedy. In "The Driver's Seat" we find Lise's uncanny sixth sense and Mrs, Fiedke's prediction. In "Memento Mori" there is the strange voice on the telephone which warns the aged to remember they must die. Muriel Spark's real concern, however, is a realistic representation of life in her fiction. The better to convey the idea of life as a series of moments, Spark adapts the structure in her novels to embody moments representing the uncertainties of life. Sometimes Time follows an uninterrupted flow and nothing happens to alter its course. At other times, obstacles spring up and bring about a change in direction. Some trivial object may produce an association which sends a character's memory racing back to the past. A sympathetic obedience to the cycle of life and that of the seasons can also be traced throughout the five novels discussed, which treat respectively youth, man in his prime, death and decay which have their parallel in the seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Miss Brodie sits under the big elm in the school grounds with her girls (in the Spring of their lives) while Autumn leaves fall. The inhabitants of the Maud Long Ward are in the 'winter' of their lives. The cycles of life and of the seasons form part of the pattern which Muriel Spark imposes on her work to give it more coherence.
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