What does the narrator think of the char women who ride the bus with him in To Sir, with Love?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator is amused by the char women who ride the bus with him, and looks upon them with respect, seeing in them "their own kind of dignity." He describes them as

"thick-armed, bovine women, huge-breasted, with heavy bodies irrevocably distorted by frequent childbearing, faces pink and slightly damp from their early labors, the warm May morning and their own energy. There (is) a look of indestructibility about them, from the tip of each tinted head in its gaudy headscarf, tightly tied to expose one or two firmly fastened curls, to the solid legs and large feet which (seem) rooted in the earth."

The women remind the narrator of peasants, even though they obviously live in the city. Their coarse and earthy jokes are told without guile, and, as they "(josh) and (chivvy) each other and the conductor in an endless stream of lewdly suggestive remarks and retorts," the narrator is impressed with their openness and uncomplicated approach towards the world. The narrator is charmed by "the essential naturalness of these folk whe (are) an integral part of one of the world's greatest cities and at the same time as common as hayseeds." In their lack of sophistication, the narrator senses a refreshing genuineness; having lived "too intimately with poverty and danger and death," the char women understand the things that are important and are not spoiled by the petty prejudices of those who feel they must make an impression (Chapter 1).