White Teeth Essay

White Teeth Essay-41
She had transformed into someone who “looked beautiful. Through the narratives language, the “borders” (Smith, 328) suggest that she is set into a boundary where she is “sneaking into England.” (Smith, 328) Her being an English/Jamaican race should not allow her to feel “like a Jew munching a sausage,” (Smith, 328) nor should she feel “like some terribly mutinous act,” (Smith, 328) as she is originally part-English through blood.However, through society during Multiculturalism she would be seen as “wearing somebody else’s uniform or somebody else’s skin” (Smith, 328), as she would be associated to the Jamaican group of Immigrants, not the British of “Englishman.” (Smith, 5) Thus, the structure of the book, through the beginning and middle of Irie’s story makes us believe, that she has not broken any boundary even with trying.This is when the boundary of race and nationality would be seen as broken by either referring back to the roots within a family, or living up a nationality you are familiar and have been with throughout life.

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A Post Colonial Essay on the Novel White Teeth by Zadie Smith ‘These texts are a celebration of the collapsing of boundaries.’ Explore ways that your chosen texts support this statement.

Boundaries within society are like, “The clouds on the map” where they “would move, reform, disappear, and “new distinct areas would form.” [1] The “clouds” we would see as a cultural identity, sets us in a situation where we become distant.

According to critic Mark Rozzo, other immigration/race issues in the novel are the “nationalist fear of miscegenation,” or race mixing, and tolerance.

Surprisingly, the leading white character, Archie Jones, displays exceptional tolerance of diversity: His wife, Clara, is biracial and his best friend, Samad Iqbal, is Bangladeshi.

In contrast, Malkani sets the boundaries of nationality through the “mash-up of London street slang; popular Americanisms (such as “feds” or “bucks”); Panjabi slang and hip-hop slang.”[10] Within Britain, proper English would want to be used in respect to the English Culture however Malkani sets us readers apart from characters by the use of language in two different ways.

From the very beginning we are presented with the three titles of the chapters “Paki … Desi.” The word “Paki,” was initially used as a short term of saying Pakistani and has a meaning of the pure. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1985 Bhabha, Homi. Undoubtedly, towards the ending of Irie in White Teeth, it is believed that she celebrates a happy ending through broken boundaries.Irie decided to go to the “Root Canals of Hortense Bowden,” (Smith, 356) where she will learn about her “roots” of her “original past.”[7] By learning through her grandmother Hortense Bowden, it enabled her to evolve into the ideology of a black person, where she became a Jehovah’s Witness.However, unlike some of her predecessors, Smith writes about England’s contemporary issues, such as immigration and multiculturalism, in the language of those she is writing about.As a true anthropologist, she speaks the dialect of a wide range of people, from a Jamaican Jehovah’s Witness to a street-smart Bangladeshi-English teenager.The fact that it is split a novel of characters – “Archie” who is English and Caucasian, “Samad” who is Bengali and Asian, “Irie” who is a Jamaican and English but Mixed-Race and “Magid, Millat and Marcus” who are different races and nationalities – allows us to understand that there is a boundary of race and nationality in London during the time of “1974 to 1999.” (Smith, Contents) Similarly in Londonstani, Gautam Malkani writes the book as a novel with a beginning middle and end however, it is logically divided into 3 exact chapters, “Paki,” (Malkani, 2) “Sher,” (Malkani, 135) and “Desi.”(Malkani, 271) Irie, a character formed by Zadie Smith in White Teeth tries to conform to the English nationality in appose to her Jamaican and become what Smith calls an “Englishman.” (Smith, 5) During the beginning, we are thrown into the deep side where, “there was England, a gigantic mirror, and there was Irie, without reflection.A stranger in a stranger land.” (Smith, 266) Irie herself, lives in England where the image of a gigantic mirror represents the looks of an English person, yet when Irie stands in front of the mirror, she has no reflection. The fact that she has a “big butt, big hips, big thighs, big teeth,” (Smith, 265) does not allow her to be accepted within England, which according to Walsh through an anonymous review, was like “a literary equivalent of a hyperactive, ginger-haired tap-dancing 10-year-old.”[3] The short sentence “A stranger in a stranger land,” creates a strong image where it suggests that even though she is half English, she is still portrayed as a stranger in the country, and sees this country as a foreign place.As Malkani said, “these are rules and codes with all slang – otherwise slang wouldn’t create boundaries and barriers to entry,” [13] which implies that he had wrote slang in order for us not to understand and because of this we would have to read around the words to understand what is happening. However, where Malkani states “slang wouldn’t create boundaries,” it could be criticised that in fact the boundaries have been broken due to the use of modern day “chav” language, which is defined as “an assortment of dialects made up from cockney rhyming slang and its derivatives, Latino phrases” and is spoken “regardless of gender or race.” [14] The media in society plays a big part of this as “ITV, BBC. Put him on MTV Base an I’ll listen to him,” (Malkani, 127) makes it evident that music has a massive impact on the younger generations’ life and is the way for them to interact and communicate in a community. Race in White Teeth, religion in Londonstani and immigrants in The Emperor’s Babe all “move, reform” and “disappear” until a celebration is underway with the newly formed “distinct areas.” Through language we explore a variety of chosen words which sets us apart from what we are to believe; creating boundaries between us and the characters within the chapters of the books.Outlined by Bhabha, a “homogenizing, unifying force” is “authenticated by the original past” [2] helps us visualise that, what we truly are is what we were originally in the past.


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