Good-bye, Mr. Chips Still Clears the Sinuses

Good-Bye, Mr. Chips is an an eccentric schoolmaster’s sentimental look back over his lifetime in a British boarding school for boys.

schoolboys sitting on benchMr. Chipping came to Brookfield to teach classics. He wasn’t much of a scholar or teacher, but he did his job. So he stayed.

In 1896, at age 48, he fell in love with a beautiful young woman half his age. She mellowed and sharpened Chips, making him a revered figure on campus. When she dies in childbirth, he hangs on, buoyed by the boys he loves.

He retired at 65 and moved across the road from the school, renting rooms from another former school employee.

When World War I depleted the pool of teachers, Chips was called back to act as headmaster until the war ended.

Then he went back into retirement, but he kept close ties to Brookfield to the day of his death.

In Good-Bye, Mr. Chips, James Hilton pays tribute to teachers who care more about their pupils than about their subject. There’s no plot to speak of, no real characterization. The novel is just an excuse to indulge in a few minutes of tearful nostalgia.

Make a cup of tea, butter a muffin, and enjoy this harmless indulgence.

Good-Bye, Mr. Chips
By James Hilton
Little, Brown, 1934
126 pages
1934 bestseller # 4
My Grade: B

© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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