To Sir With Love
by E.R. Braithewaite In the novel, "To Sir With Love", various human characteristics are portrayed. Of these, the idea that humans are able to adapt and change their way of thinking seems to be demonstrated throughout the story. In the novel, both the teacher, Braithewaite, and his students end up going through many changes that ultimately result in their coming to change their way of thinking about each other. In life, as in this fictionalized account, the ability to adapt to the world around one's self is a very important trait. In my own life, this has occurred on many occasions. In the story, Braithewaite begins with a set of preconceived ideas about his students. He expects them to be unintelligent, rough, racially intolerant children with no future-hardly deserving of his respect. But, as he sees later, they are are the total opposites of his initial ideas. This is gradually shown through their actions, such as the students all going to visit the house of their black friend during his crisis, or their learning to treat each other with respect. They learned to address each other by their last names, in the case of the boys, and "Miss", for the girls. They also learned to respect and really learn from their teacher, something they had never cared to do before. Braithewaite helped them to break out of the the pattern of intolerance and roughness into which society had placed them. They began to respect themselves and then to respect others. In short, it was obvious that both the teacher and his students were able to change their way of thinking; they did not get stuck in their original set of preconceived notions about each other. This is a key point of the novel; this idea that people can change their ways. In my own experiences, I have ended up changing my ways as I have become wiser. One example would be my relationship with my older sister. As a child, I constantly fought with her over everything and never tried to get to understand her. Gradually, though, as I grew older, I learned to accept and to understand her. Now, even though we still argue about a lot of things, I feel my relationship with her has improved and I am beginning to understand her. ;I now look at her as being a nice person with much to offer me, rather than as my evil sister. This has been a true example of my being able to change my way of thinking about another individual. The concept of man being able to alter his ways is a crucial element to his living in a society such as ours. All of us must learn to accept individual hardships, and all of us must be able to adapt to our ever-changing world. World leaders must adjust their way of thinking about an evolving third world country, or a growing superpower. An employee must adapt to be able to perform his job adequately. All of us have had to gradually adapt in order to live together as a relatively cohesive, well ordered society. It is clear that nothing remains constant in our world of change except change itself. It is our ability to learn and to adapt our ways that has brought humans as far forward as they are today. As a species, we have gone from living as naked savages to relatively living as relatively civilized individuals. This would never have been possible had it not been for our ability to change our ways of thinking. For humans, then, it is our ability to change that has put us where we are today and is our key to further advancement, both as societies and as people.
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