To Sir With Love

Author: E.R Braithwaute

Genre: Fiction

To Sir, With Love is a 1959 autobiography by E. R. Braithwaite set in a very poor location of London (East End). The novel is based on the true story of Braithwaite taking up a teaching post in a Greenslade school, London which was notoriously rough. The novel consists of 22 chapters which gives insight into the politics of race and class post-World War II. In 1967, Hollywood turned his novel into a film by the same name, resetting the story in 1960s. The story narrates history of colonialism involved in Braithwaite’s experiences. Braithwaite is originally from British Guiana (now Guyana) which was geographically located in South America, but was considered part of the British West Indies. Braithwaite constantly feels the prejudicial effects of colonialism while living in England after World War II. His experiences of racism post war majorly convert into his thoughts and actions.

The narration goes like Braithwaite, works as an engineer in an Aruban oil refinery before immigrating to England shortly before World War II. During the war, Braithwaite serves as a member of the Royal Air Force (RAF) but after the war ends, he is unable to find a employment because he is black. After the war when Braithwaite is demobilized from the RAF, he is told by the career advisor that he should have “no difficulty in finding a good civilian job”. After that a stranger then convinces Braithwaite to apply in Appointment Office where he gets selected for interviews. He gets selected for the post of a teacher and that is how he ends up at the Greenslade School in London, to teach the senior class.