Good-bye, Mr. Chips

by James Hilton

Start Free Trial

How did Mr. Chips's decision to stay on at Brookfield pay him a great reward in the end?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

After he has been at Brookfield for about ten years, it occurs to Mr. Chips that he probably can't do any better by moving to another school. He also begins to realize that he likes the idea of staying on. We learn that, at forty, he is comfortably settled in. More rewards come as he ages. Not only is he happy and fulfilled with his teaching, he becomes the face of the school as its honored senior staff member. Since he holds the longest ongoing institutional memory of the Brookfield, he is the person people turn to to settle questions of tradition or history.

At 65, in 1913, he is rewarded with a comfortable retirement, which includes a check for an undisclosed amount of money, a writing desk, and a clock. He boards across the street from the school. As the book states of his career,

At forty, he was rooted, settled, and quite happy. At fifty, he was the doyen of the staff. At sixty, under a new and youthful Head, he WAS Brookfield—the guest of honor at Old Brookfeldian dinners, the court of appeal in all matters affecting Brookfield history and traditions.

In his retirement, Mr. Chips is honored and esteemed and often visited by former students. His steadiness and his faithful loyalty to his school, his students, and his teaching are rewarded by the esteem in which he is held by all who know him.

Mr. Chips never earns much money and never becomes famous, but his is a life well lived. His gentle honesty and quiet integrity are admired by those around him.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team