What is the Summary of Chapter 21 of To Sir with Love?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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As the term draws to a close, Rick Braithwaite's life is filled with work and with his deepening relationship with Gillian Blanchard, and he is content. Before meeting Gillian, Mr. Braithwaite had never considered marrying a white woman because of the deep prejudice which exists in England against mixed marriages, but, having met Gillian, everything had changed in his mind. The couple go to meet her parents, whom Mr. Braithwaite finds to be "very nice people." The meeting is at first cordial but somewhat strained, with the topic of the relationship between Gillian and Rick being carefully avoided.

Mr. Blanchard and Mr. Braithwaite have both been to Aruba, in South America, and find much to talk about concerning the island they both know so well. To Mr. Braithwaite's consternation, Mr. Blanchard begins to reminisce about the prostitutes which were brought to the island regularly, to service the men who worked in the American Refinery. Mr. Braithwaite remembers that Aruba was quite a barren place before the Americans came, a place where both food and water had to be brought in by ship, and where women were a rare commodity. He is a little worried that the subject of the prostitutes, and the long queues that formed to greet them is a little too delicate to discuss in front of Gillian and her mother, but Mr. Blanchard assures him that they have heard it all before. Both Mr. Blanchard and Mr. Braithwaite admit to never having associated with the prostitutes during their respective times in Aruba.

Finally, after lunch on Sunday, the pressing topic of Gillian's and Rick's relationship is addressed. Mr. Blanchard admits that he and his wife are concerned about the possibility that the two might marry because of the difficulties they will have to face as a mixed couple in British society, and because their children will "belong nowhere." Mr. Braithwaite listens respectfully, but he is somewhat perturbed, having heard these arguments before. Mr. Braithwaite responds a bit defensively, telling Mr. Blanchard that he (Mr. Blanchard) and Mrs. Blanchard had not had any guarantee that their children "would be strong, healthy or without physical deformity" either, and assuring him that he need not worry about any children that might result from a union between himself (Rick) and Gillian. Mr. Blanchard replies that he is speaking dispassionately and is only concerned that the step that the two young people are taking will be very difficult, and he asks that Rick and Gillian wait six months "before taking further action." He closes the discussion by telling Rick that they do like him very much, and that if Rick is going to be "joining this family (they) might as well be friends." Mr. Blanchard then extends his hand to Mr. Braithwaite, and the two men shake hands (Chapter 21).

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