THE DISCOURSE OF ‘OTHER’ IN TO SIR WITH LOVE

Jency James, Deepthy Mohan

Abstract


The chance for a change lies in the ability to recognise the reality; and transformation can be brought by proving one’s own worth, integrity and dignity inspite of the forces opposed to them. This is the philosophy that Ricky Braithwaite, the protagonist of the novel, To Sir, With Love proclaims to the world being a victim of the so called Other world.  He not only teaches this lesson but also lives it. Braithwaite encounters racial biases in almost all aspects of his life – in the coffee shops, in the train, in the bus and so on. But the method adopted by him to fight back all this is quite different. Ricky is silent and so maintains his dignity. He tells his students that they cannot take the form of the world around them. He knows that simply getting angry is not the way to change this.

The Blacks had always been the victims of racial discrimination and were treated as the Other in society. We are living in a society where, despite all the light of knowledge and education, people still live in the darkness of racial prejudice and biases. We tend to forget that it is not the skin colour that determines the quality of a person, but his talents and his personality. E.R Braithwaite’s book To Sir, With Love clearly highlights the issue of racial prejudice through the experiences of the central character, Ricky Braithwaite. The novel throws light upon the deeply embedded racial discrimination in the social structure of Britain. It is a classic work about a dedicated teacher who, using his own philosophy, breaks down the barriers of racial prejudice. Braithwaite’s influence on his students can be seen in the climax of the novel.

The author E. R. Braithwaite is attempting to remind us that the Braithwaites of this world alone cannot uproot prejudice, but they can point us to its existence. This paper tries to analyse how effectively the efforts of a single person can start or push the button of change.

Keywords


Other, Racism, Identity, Prejudice

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