What is Braithwaite's idea of beauty in To Sir, With Love?

In To Sir, With Love, Braithwaite's idea of beauty is embodied by the women of Martinique. They are tall, willowy, and graceful, with “soft, wavy raven hair” and honey-colored skin.

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In To Sir, With Love, Braithwaite presents us with an entirely subjective account of what is beautiful. To him, beauty is exemplified by the women of Martinique, whom he saw many years ago when he visited the Caribbean island.

Braithwaite recounts how the women appeared to him. They were...

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In To Sir, With Love, Braithwaite presents us with an entirely subjective account of what is beautiful. To him, beauty is exemplified by the women of Martinique, whom he saw many years ago when he visited the Caribbean island.

Braithwaite recounts how the women appeared to him. They were “tall, willowy, graceful” and with “soft wavy raven hair” and honey-colored skin. Gillian Blanchard, his new work colleague at school, is lovely in the same way. Her skin, with its rich tint of olive, is particularly attractive to Braithwaite, and hints at Italian or Jewish parentage. And then there are those dark eyes of hers, which are almost black in their beautiful depths.

Braithwaite's obvious attraction to Gillian foreshadows their subsequent relationship. Given the racial prejudice that exists in post-war Britain, however, such a relationship is generally frowned upon by society.

Gillian may have dark hair, olive skin, and black eyes; she may correspond to Braithwaite's idea of beauty. But at the end of the day, she's still white, and most people in Britain don't believe that a white woman should enter into a relationship with a Black man. This prejudiced attitude will create problems further down the road for Braithwaite and Gillian as they become closer.

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