Mr. Chips Chapter Wise Summary

Goodbye Mr. Chips Summary

 

Goodbye, Mr. Chips was written in just a week – “more quickly, more easily, and with fewer subsequent alterations than anything I had ever written before, or have ever written since,” James Hilton noted. Based in part on the life of Hilton’s own father, the novel is just over 100 pages long and tells the simple, elegant tale of Mr. Chipping, or “Chips,” and his own “coming of age” alongside the thousands of boys he teaches over the years.

 

The story begins on the day in 1880 when Chips arrives at Brookfield Academy and has his first, disastrous encounter with a class of rowdy students. With gentle wit and kindness, however, Chips quickly earns enough respect from his boys to teach well, if not brilliantly. As he approaches middle age he is content enough at Brookfield, although he knows something is missing. As the novel puts it, Chips “had been there long enough to have established himself as a decent fellow and a hard worker, but just too long for anyone to believe him capable of ever being much more.”

 

But when Chips meets and Kathie on a holiday from school, everything changes: he becomes “to all appearances a new man.” Although Kathie dies in childbirth just a year later, Chips carries his new confidence into life at Brookfield and becomes not just respected but beloved.

 

When World War I breaks out, Chips is finally asked to take over as headmaster of the school. “For the first time in his life,” Hilton writes, “he felt necessary – and necessary to something that was nearest his heart.” When he dies peacefully in his bed years later his last words are the names of the boys he taught over the years.

 

BEFORE AND AFTER WORLD WAR I

 

The world changed completely during the years in which Mr. Chips was at Brookfield. He would have entered the school in the late Victorian era, taught through the Edwardian era, and died between the two great wars of the 2oth century, thus witnessing the dawn of the modern world.

 

This was a time of dizzying technological advance: the early years of the 2oth century saw the first electric lights, telephone, telegraph, transatlantic cable, elevator, car, and airplane flight. It was also a time when Britain went from being at the height of its imperial power – with countries under its flag around the globe to seeing its might begin to wane as other nations competed for political and economic advantage.

 

As Mr. Chips began his tenure at Brookfield, English class structure was still rigidly defined – everyone had a place in society, and everyone knew his or her place. But the change brought by World War I opened up new opportunities for women, as well as for the working classes. In their first meeting, Kathie asks Chips his opinion on women’s suffrage. By 1906 women were taking to the streets to demonstrate for the right to vote.

 

Public sympathy for the cause grew, and when women had to take on the jobs that men left behind during World War I, they proved their capability. In 1918 women won the right to vote in Britain.

 

For an evocative look at English life in Edwardian time, you may want to view portions of the PBS television series The Manor House, which portrays modern-day volunteers going “back in time” to become an upper-class family and their servants. Other films that portray this era are Gosford Park and The Shooting Party.

 

WORLD WAR I AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

When World War I broke out in 1914, it became the largest conflict history had ever seen. In the end, the British Empire sent nine million men to war and lost nearly one million of them. Of these men, many were public school boys like those in Goodbye, Mr. Chips. The film shows the first ominous stirrings of war as the new headmaster brings in an Officer Training Corps, and the boys develop a growing distrust of the German teacher, Herr Staefel.

 

When the war first began, many in England thought it would end soon and be “the war to end all wars.” With this attitude, and with propaganda everywhere urging young men to join the troops, it became embarrassing for a man of military age not to be enlisted. But as the war wore on and uses of new weapons like automatic machine guns, poison gas, tanks, and trend warfare began to claim thousands of lives, public opinion began to shift. Each week newspapers published lengthy casualty lists like those Chips reads to his students.

 

CHARACTER OF MR. CHIPS

 

Mr. Chips is the central character of the novel “Good Bye Mr. Chips”. It is really one man story. The character of Mr. Chips is superb stroke of the writer’s pen. The characterization is so artistic that the reader seems to fall in love with this old chap.

 

Mr. Chips was a capable teacher. He loved his profession. He was devoted to his students and teaching. He was very hard working as it was shown by his devotion during the war. He intended to develop an overall development of his students’ personality. He was liked and loved by his pupils as well as by his colleagues. He left an everlasting impression on their minds and hearts and a good number of them came to visit him even after joining their practical life.

 

Chips was a simple and straight forward gentleman. He was first taken to be weak which caused trouble in his class. As a reaction to that he became strict and rigid. This rigidity, however, lost its intensity under the influence of his wife and Katherine and he treated the students as his own sons.

 

His jokes not only made children laugh but also left lasting impressions on their minds. His memories of the fathers and grandfathers of his pupils gave rise to delightful jokes in the class.

 

Chips was a teacher of classical languages He was prominent for his pronunciation, which he did not care to improve. He was traditional conservative in other walk of life.

 

Mr. Chips not only practically strong but also had a strong heart, which throbbed in the broad chest. He was not a man who always tried to show his physical strength. His affairs with Mr. Ralston showed the firmness of his belief and ideas, and warmth of his passion. His courage also inspired his students. He even did not care for the exploding bombs during the war and conducted his class successfully.

 

Chips married very late. His married life was the result of accidental meeting with Katherine Bridges, who expired in a delivery case. In spite of the ideological difference, there was an enviable adjustment between them. Under the influence of Katherine Chips, humour became more mature and his discipline also improved his dealings with the students became appropriate and realistic. He started taking more interest in his school activities. It created in him a new sense of confidence and he became more popular with his students.

 

Chips was a true patriot and he believed that institutions like Brookfield were steams, which fed the mighty river, which was England. So, as a teacher, he had a very clear concept of his national duty, as he taught with courage during the war.

 

Mr. Chips is a remarkable character, who impresses the readers, his personality, his habits, his devotion towards his profession, loyalty towards the ideals and above all his unsuppressed humour made him a person never to be forgotten.

 

KATHERINE BRIDGES

 

Katherine Bridges was a young and beautiful girl of twenty-five. She had blue, flashing eyes, freckled cheeks and smooth straw coloured hair. She was a governess out of job. She gave the impression of being soberly beautiful and not aggressively glamorous (alluring or tempting) .Mr. Chips came across her during his visit to the Lake District. Before meeting her, Chips had never shown any interact in feminine charms and had

never thought of family or marriage. But her sweet, free, frank, fearless and impressive manners won Chips heart. She was social and liberal. She was interested in the revolutionary ideas of the writers like Bernard Shaw, Ibsen and William Morris. She was a radical socialist. She was in favour of equality, fraternity and freedom of women.

 

She was revolutionary and was in favour of women’s right of voting. She was the most daring and the most modern woman in that old Victorian society of Brookfield. Being a woman did not bar Katherine from climbing hills and riding bicycles. Victorians frowned upon a woman visiting a man living alone, but Katherine did not hesitate to visit Mr. Chips when he was injured. In fact, she wanted woman to be having equal right like men by being admitted to universities and being allowed to vote.

 

Before his marriage, Chips was a dull, dry and neutral sort of person. . He had confidence, satisfaction, everything except inspiration. He drifted aimlessly through life and his teaching lacked orientation. Katherine became a star by which he was to steer his life Katherine made him a new man. With her impressive and charming personality, she induced a new life in the old mind and body of Mr. Chips. She broadened his views

and opinions, improved his discipline and sharpened his sense of humour. He was honoured and obeyed by everyone but after his marriage people began to love him due to great change in him.

 

Katherine gave a new dimension to the future of Brookfield. She entered like a gleam of modernity in the ancient surrounding of Brookfield. She was the centre of attention, wherever she went. In other words, like Caser, she came, she saw and she conquered. She persuaded Chips and other teachers to invite the football team of missionary school to play a match with the boys of Brookfield school. That’s why she was popular among the boys and teacher at Brookfield.

 

The sweeter the fragrance, the sooner it is wafted (vanished) away; similarly, Katherine’s life was short and beautiful. She died one year after her marriage on April 1“ 1898 during child birth. She appeared like a shooting-star on the skies of Brookfield. Though she died, yet she lived in the heart and mind of Mr. Chips. Her life left an everlasting impression on Mr. Chips life and behind the serious and sad demeanour (manner) of Mr. Chips, there was always embedded the vivacious(full of life) smile of Katherine Bridges.

 

The gulf between the past and the future is always unbridgeable. When they do come together, there is bound to be discord. Rarely, does it result in harmony; as with Katherine and Chips. In their case, love proved to be the binding factor. On the other hand, Chips and Ralston had a plain professional relationship which was liable to conflict. This conflict was mainly generated by the difference in their ages and ides.

 

Ralston was a young man of thirty-seven when eh joined Brookfield as headmaster. His academic record had been brilliant all along. He came to the job full of bright new ideas for the future of the school. Chips had to step down from the post of acting Headmaster, but this did not disappoint him at all. He was well into his fifties and had become an institution within an institution. The staff and students considered him an integral part of the school, and he felt himself above minor considerations of rank and posting.

 

After Katherine’s death, his attitude to life had become somewhat philosophical. The initial shock had slowly dissolved into a calm acceptance of the fact and her memory lived on like a soft glow in his thoughts.

 

Being thus adjusted in his personal life, he could sit back and bask in the honour and esteem showered on him by both pupils and colleagues. He began to develop many harmless eccentricities (peculiarities) usually found in old school teachers. These quirks of behaviour were not only accepted but even glorified by the students and teachers.

 

So, it was a rude shock for Chips when Ralston called him to his office and asked him to retire. To be sure, he was now sixty years old, but the thought of leaving Brookfield had simply never crossed his mind. He told Ralston he didn’t even want to consider retirement. Along argument ensued and at last Ralston erupted into an insulting tirade. The old teacher couldn’t understand why the headmaster considered his tattered old grown to be slovenly.

 

Ralston had been offended by Chips’ repeated disregard for his orders. He conveyed this to the old teacher in a surprisingly delicate manner. But, Chips saw nothing wrong in his own ways. He couldn’t bring himself to teach the old languages in a new and artificial way. Ralston also pointed out that his pupils were doing miserably in examination. Here to Chips held his own opinion. He believed that education was something more than just passing examinations. For him, it meant the inculcation of a sense of proportion in the students. He thought that Ralston wanted to make Brookfield a snob factory by introducing artificial methods of teaching.

 

The young headmaster was in the habit of going to London to mix with the newly wealthy class. In this way, he would rope in admissions for the school. This had a salutary effect on the finances of Brookfield. But, Chips saw it as an obvious sale of education; totally against the spirit of democracy. He thought over these things silently. Then he rose, gathered his tattered gown and walked to the door. There, he turned and declared his intention of not resigning at all. Having flung the gauntlet at Ralston, he left the room.

 

At the same moment, a little boy who had been listening outside spread the tale around. Both Chips and Ralston were not ready for the reaction. The whole school rose up in favour of the old teacher. There was even talk of a riot if Ralston forced Chips to resign. News of the tussle reached the Board of Governors. One day, the Chairman, Sir John Rivers, visited the school. Significantly, he ignored Ralston and went straight to Chips. During the conversation, he assured him that he could work at Brookfield for as long as he liked.

 

Chips was overwhelmed by this show of love and loyalty. Perhaps, no one else knew that Sir John Rivers had been his pupil. Ralston could never have imagined how deeply Chips had taken root in the hearts of his pupils and colleagues. He learned to his chagrin that some value, however, old fashioned, cannot be simply wiped away. He had the best intentions for Brookfield, but could not compare with chips because the old teacher has given the best part of his life to the school.

 

The standard of an educational institution cannot be judged by any yardstick. It neither lies in the number of students nor the beauty of its building. If Brookfield were to be judged by these fallacious methods, it would definitely cut a sorry figure.

 

Brookfield was an old foundation and was established as a grammar school in the reign of Elizabeth I. Externally, it gave the glimpse of a group of eighteen century building centered upon a quadrangle with acres of playground beyond. The village around it was surrounded by an open fen country (marshy place). Chips joined the Brookfield in 1870 and considered it one of the streams, which fed the mighty river that was England. However, in this context, Brookfield was more a leisurely brook than a swiftly flowing stream.

 

Unfortunately, Brookfield could acquire the status of first-rank; the school went up and down, dwindling almost to non-existence at one time and becoming almost illustrious at another. Weatherly took over the charge as headmaster during mid-Victorian days when the school was on the decline. He restored its fortunes somewhat; but it remained, at best a good school of the second rank. Had it not been so, Chips would have never been able to join it. As a matter of fact, both school and schoolmaster mirrored each other perfectly. Brookfield took pride in its relaxed atmosphere, stubbornly refusing to match the place of the outer world. Similarly, Chips held tenaciously on to his cherished old world values.

 

The fact that several notable families supported the school shows that it could inspire loyalty among certain judicious people. The same quality was to be found in Chips. Both of them stood for these precious, though un-glamorous sentiments quite a few students of Brookfield joined the ranks of history makers as judges, members of Parliament, colonial administrators, peers and bishops. But, mainly, the school turned out merchants, manufacturers, professional men, country squires and parsons. Such people constitute the very backbone of a society; and, by educating the middle class, Brookfield rendered yeoman’s service to the country.

 

In this regard too, Chips was in complete harmony with the school. Throughout his career, he cared to remember only the boys who became soldiers, professionals and the like, and not the peers and administrators.

 

Conscious of its own easy-going dignified ways, Brookfield had little tolerance for modern methods of commercialized education. This was amply demonstrated by what happened to Rakton. This hotheaded young headmaster Game fired with visions of leading the school into the future. Significantly, he clashed with none other than chips; for, the old teacher had now become Brookfield itself. The whole school rallied round Chips and Ralston had to concede defeat. Actually, he was not at all wrong. He only made the mistake of losing the h’storical perspective. He forgot that some values have a time-honoured sanctity, and therefore, ought to be treated with reverence. He thought that Chips was an impediment (hurdle) to progress. Little did he realize that, by belittling the old man, he was striking at the very roots of what Brookfield stood for. The school and the schoolmaster proved that dignity, honour and seem of proportion were far more important than glamour and commercialism.

 

CHIPS’ FAREWELL SPEECH

“Parting is such a sweet sorrow………”

There can hardly be anything sweet in the sorrow of saying farewell to life itself. A shadow of pathos always lurks behind the good-natured banter at farewell parties. Farewells remind us that, after all, everything and everyone must come to an end. Therefore, they are always heart wrenching and odd how much it hurts when a friend or loving one moves away and leaves behind silence.

 

In the novel “Goodbye Mr. Chips” Chips deserves credit for not letting his farewell degenerate into sentimental squalor (unpleasantness). As a teacher he always avoided to burden his students with dejected thoughts. In fact his speech was replete with crispy jokes underlying moral ideals. Despite the frequent roars of laughter, he managed to reach out and delicately touch the hearts of all the students and teachers.

 

The captain of the school, in he speech, had paid glowing tributes to the services rendered by Chips. In all modesty, the old teacher attributed it to the Captain’s habit of exaggeration. He remarked that it ran in the family because he had punished the Captain’s father for the same failing. The ensuing laughter covered up Chip’s embarrassment at receiving such praise.

 

Farewell speeches are usually composed of sweet and everlasting memories of past; and that evening Mr. Chips also looked back over the forty two years he had been with Brookfield. But, he chose not to dwell on the burdensome aspect of the past. he mentioned only the sweet memories associated with the school e.g. He remembered the first bicycle to be used there. He told the boys about the time when there was no gas or electricity at Brookfield. It was interesting g to learn that the staff had nominated a lamp-boy, whose job was to clean, trim and light lamps. Once, there had been a long frost and the whole school had learnt to skate on the fens.

 

During his speech, he also narrated the time when two-third of the school went down with German measles and Big Hall was turned into hospital. The situation became more humorous when Chips related the incident, which occurred on the Mafeking night. Inadvertently, a bonfire was lit too near the pavilion and the fire -brigade had to be called. The Firemen were having their own celebrations and arrived in drunken condition.

 

Towards the end of his speech, Chips stuck a tender note. He said that he would never forget the face of his students. If, later in life, he ever failed to recognize anyone, it would only because of the changed features of that boy. He also owed that he would always remember them as they were. He turned the track of his farewell speech from sadness to fun by mentioning the Chairman, who had unruly hair and poor grammar when he was a little boy. In this way, he felt his pupils as he had always kept them; happy and light hearted. By the skillful use of humour he avoided exploiting the emotions of the innocent students. Actually he did not need any display of sympathy from them because his calm and poise won by devotion and service to Brookfield transcended such pretty consideration. Even his parting words carried only a hint of the wistfulness in his heart:

 

“Think of me sometime, as I shall certainly think of you”.

 

GOOD BYE MR. CHIP’S ANTI WAR THEME

 

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.

War cannot be justified under any rhyme and reason. When the World War I broke out in 1914, it became the largest conflict that the story had ever seen. The British Empire sent nine million men to war and lost nearly one million of them. Most of them were the public school boys like those mentioned in the “Goodbye Mr. Chips”.

 

This war was “the first shock and then the first optimism” as many in England thought it would end soon and be “the war to end all wars”. With this attitude and propaganda everywhere the army was urging the young men to join the troops regardless of age and height. As in chapter No.13, it has been quoted that Forrester was the smallest boy at Brookfield, who was killed in 1918.

 

Older men declare war. But it’s the youth who must fight and die! {Herbert Hoover} To Mr. Chips, it seemed tragically sensational when the first old Brookfield was killed in action. Mr. Chips criticized the Officer Training Corps in the following words, when he came to know that the boys from the same school fought against France hundred years ago:-

“Strange, in a way, that the sacrifices of one generation cancel out those of another”

 

For the first time in history, new weapons of mass destruction were used killing hundred thousand of citizens. Each week newspapers published lengthy casualty lists like those Chips or Chatteris read out on every Sunday night.

 

Brookfield was an educational institution yet the Military Campus sprung up near Brookfield and Brookfield OTC was developed swiftly; that’s why most of the younger masters were in military uniform for training. The Antiwar theme has also been depicted through Mr. Chips comments about food rationing system during the war.

 

Mr. Chips had sympathy for Max Staefel, the German mister, while other had despised him because he belonged to an enemy country although he served at Brookfield.

 

Mr. Chips had anti-war ideas i.e. “the ideas of dignity and generosity that were becoming rare in a frantic world”. About “bayonet-practice” Chips held the view that it was a very vulgar way of killing people”.

 

According to him all the explosives used in the war were the invention of a new kind of mischief by some stink merchant in his laboratory. Moreover, the affairs of war were least important to him as he kept his usual lecture even during the air-raid.

 

Through the ideas and comments of Mr. Chips James Hilton has very aptly highlighted war as unwelcomed evil passion. War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.

 

 

 

OBJECTIVE

 

  1. The writer of the Novel “Goodbye Mr. Chips” is JAMES HILTON.
  2. The real name of Mr. Chips was MR. CHIPPING
  3. Mr. Chips was born in 1848.
  4. Mr. Chips lived at Mrs. Wickett’s after his retirement.
  5. Mr. Chips joined Brookfield in 1870.
  6. Mr. Wetherby was the headmaster when Mr. Chips joined Brookfield
  7. Mr. Chips taught at Melbury Public School for one year.
  8. Brookfield was established in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as a grammar school.
  9. The school was rebuilt in the reign of George I.
  10. Mr. Wetherby joined Brookfield in 1840.
  11. Mr. Chips retired at the age of Sixty-Five.
  12. At the time of retirement, Mr. Chips was presented with Cheque, a writing desk and a Clock.
  13. Mr. Chips met Katherine Bridges in 1896 during the summer vacation in Lake District while climbing Great Gable.
  14. Mr. Chips was Forty-Eight when he met Katherine.
  15. Katherine was Twenty-five when she met Mr. Chips.
  16. Mr. Chips married Katherine in London a week before the beginning the Autumn Term.
  17. Mr. Meldrum died in 1900 after serving the school for thirty years.
  18. Chip’s wife and child died on April 1st 1898.
  19. After the death of Mr. Meldrum, Mr. Chips became the Acting Headmaster of the school.
  20. Mr. Ralston was thirty-seven when he joined the Brookfield.
  21. In 1913 Chips decided to retire at the age of 65.
  22. In July 1916 Chatteris met Chips at Mrs. Wickett’s with a request to join the school once again.
  23. On November 11“, 1918 Chips caught cold.
  24. Mr. Chips spent last fifteen years of his age at Mrs. Wickett’s.
  25. In 1930 Chips made his will.
  26. In 1933, a small boy, Linford came to see Mr.Chips.
  27. Dr. Merivale, Mrs. Wickett, and Cartwright-the headmaster of the Brookfield School were the last attendants when Chips fell ill.
  28. The first boy Chips ever punished was Colley.
  29. Mrs. Wickett was the incharge of linen room.
  30. Chartteris read out the name of the boys killed in the war on every Saturday.
  31. Sir John Rivers was Chairman Board of Governors.
  32. Chips Graduated from Cambridge.
  33. Chips wanted to write a book based on his memories

 

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