Essay on Structure and Style of To Sir, with Love

Essay on Structure and Style of To Sir, with Love

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Dramatic Structure
To Sir, with Love embodies a conventional three-act structure. However, the protagonist, Mark Thackeray, is faced with multiple active antagonists. The first act introduces Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) as a Communications engineer who, after many unsuccessful attempts to find employment in his field, takes a teaching position at the North Quay Secondary School. Once he has arrived, Thackeray is informed of the rebellious nature of his assigned students, who mostly come from underprivileged backgrounds. The students created such conflict that the previous teacher couldn’t manage. Led by Bert Denham (Christian Roberts) and Pamela Dare (Judy Geeson), they are the antagonists of Poitier’s character. This creates a static yet dynamic relationship between Thackeray and his students throughout the film as Thackeray attempts to understand and connect with his students while keeping within the rules of the academic environment. Thackeray’s is caught in a dilemma when his teaching strategies are proved ineffective as his students display childish behavior and play disrespectful pranks upon him each day. The turning point of the film is marked by the students burning a sanitary pad in the classroom one morning. Thackeray seems to have given up on the kids when he rushes out of the room in frustration, but he returns once he figures out that it’s the sense of being mistreated that has caused the students to rebel. Act 2 is established when he comes back into the classroom. Thackeray is motivated with a new strategy and lays out a set of rules that change the way the students will learn and live.
Over the course of time his students transform, except for Bert. The students find out that Thackeray’s past has remarkable ...


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...ocusing too much on the details of what occurred during the trip.
The film opens with a distinct song that plays over the multiple establishing shots of the impoverished Docklands district of London, England which makes the viewer fill in the blanks for themselves about the film’s peculiar time period and socio-geographic setting. The music also gives the viewer a sense of the tonality but at its ambiguous lyrics make the audience question what the music is foreshadowing about the story. The soft, slow melody and the lyrics, which express the singer’s deep gratitude to someone, work together to suggest the desire for an emotional connection and understanding that Thackeray’s students have for him.
It’s clear that Clavell chose to portray the conventional story through subtle and simple techniques that drive the narrative and the emotional aspects of the film.

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