Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Go To

Goodbye, Mr Chips is a novelette written by James Hilton in 1934. It tells the story of an aging school master at a wonderful English school and his recollections of his own past and current life experiences.

Has been adapted to the screen and television. See Goodbye, Mr. Chips for tropes appropriate for that.

Tropes featured in this work

  • Age-Gap Romance: Chips is 48 and Kathie is 25 when they fall in love. The phrase "young enough to be his daughter" is used by the narrator.
  • Advertisement:
  • Corporal Punishment: Was used at Brookfield during Chips's time, as it commonly was in British schools in those days. Chips is seen to regard it as a deterrent punishment; he recalls giving a thrashing to a boy who tried a risky stunt that could have led to his death, in the hope of discouraging similar behaviour in future.
  • Death by Childbirth: Kathie is revealed to have passed away in childbirth.
  • Fired Teacher: Ralston attempts to force Chips into retirement for refusing to adopt modern methods (such as adopting the New Pronunciation of Latin and placing emphasis on high marks rather than on character development), however as a young student overhears this conversation it leads to various students and their parents rallying to back Chips over Raltson.
  • Historical Domain Character: Prime Minister David Lloyd George appears in one chapter as a visiting dignitary.
  • Advertisement:
  • Home by Christmas: Early in the Great War, one of the new students asks Chips if he thinks it will last long. Chips says he thinks the Germans are already beaten and just don't know it yet, and that the whole thing will be over by Christmas. He then jokingly asks if the boy was thinking of joining up, not knowing that by the time the war grinds to its conclusion the same boy will have joined up and died in action.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Teaching the boys about the Roman Lex Canuleia (which enabled plebeians to marry patricians), Chips tells them that if an aristocrat thereafter told a commoner he couldn't marry her, she could reply, "Oh, yes, you Can-You-Liar."
  • Ironic Echo: Linford uses the Title Drop to say goodbye to Chips which takes him back to how Kathie said it, this would also be his last visit with a student before his death.
  • Advertisement:
  • Last of His Kind: Brookfield ends up regarding Chips as this, he represents the old guard but no matter how many generations come to pass everybody still believes in Chips and invite him to have a place somewhere.
  • Noodle Incident: At one point, Chips has a burst of reminscence in which several of the incidents go unexplained: what was so "queer" about Archer's resignation? and what was so funny about Rushton and the sack of potatoes?
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Somewhat averted and somewhat invoked by different characters. Chips is really Mr. Chipping. Some characters clearly are aware of this, but as he mentions it is a recurring joke on campus throughout the years to call him Mr. Chips to suggest that is his real name, so at some point plenty probably invoked this trope In-Universe.
  • Rescue Romance: Subverted — On a mountain climbing holiday, Chips sees a young woman "waving excitedly from a dangerous-looking ledge" and goes to see if she needs help. He slips and twists his ankle, and she has to help him down the mountain. (And she wasn't in trouble to begin with; she was just signalling to a friend she was climbing with.) She comes to visit him while he's recuperating, and they fall in love and get married.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Chips is teaching a Latin class when a German bombing raid starts. After a quick mental assessment, he concludes that they're as safe in their basement classroom as they're likely to be if they try to reach the official bomb shelters, and that the best thing to do is keep the lesson going so the students will have something else to think about. He makes a dry remark about how you can't always judge the importance of something by how much noise it makes, and assigns his students to translate a passage from Caesar's memoirs about the warlike Germanic tribes.
  • The Suffragette: Among the things that Chips initially finds bemusing about Kathie is that she believes women should have access to university educations and the vote. (She's also a better mountaineer than him and rides a bicycle!)
  • Title Drop: Kathie uses the title line as a jest on the night before their wedding. He also hears it one more time when Linford, a new student, bids him goodbye.
  • Verbal Tic: As Chips gets older he makes many pauses punctuated with an "umph" in his speech.
  • Writing Lines: On his first day as a teacher at Brookfield, in 1870, Mr Chipping gives a boy 100 lines as a punishment for being noisy during prep, to show his new students that he's not going to take any nonsense.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: