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Zadie Smith's White Teeth Identity and Progress - Essay Example

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Summary
Multiculturalism is easier promoted than done. In Zadie Smith's White Teeth, Smith aims to explore the different characteristics that are sources of conflicts for people…
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Zadie Smith's White Teeth Identity and Progress

Download file to see previous pages... Joshua supports the environmental group FATE, while his own father supports the genetically-produced FutureMouse. Samad’s twin sons, Magid and Millat, also believe in different goals; the eldest is one with Marcus and his scientific future, while Millat embraces a fundamentalist view of religion and society. White Teeth argues that people build relationships based on their inner preferences and external pressures on life and their differences will perpetually clash, but they have to accept that as part of human identity and progress. People are born to be different in ideas and beliefs, because of their own choices in life and external influences on the development of their human identity. The novel includes three generations that intersects the “themes of heritage and family history” (Chernysheva 3). Every generation has important questions that they wish to answer. For Samad, he wants to conserve history, which he also does through promoting the myth of his great-grandfather, whose role in Indian history is not entirely reliable. Archie also feels the same nostalgia for the past. His so-called war wound is not real, because he put it on himself. Despite this self-inflicted wound, Archie creates a memory of the war with a strong sense of “self-defensiveness” (Chernysheva 3). Samad and Archie essentially promote a traditional approach to history and identity formation. They repeat their wartime concerns, where they usually find people forgetting the war, as if it is not important. These best friends, nevertheless, do everything to preserve their fabricated history of the war. Samad comes from a generation that sees history in a linear relationship, where every action has a consequence (Chernysheva 3). He supports the notions of karma and fate. Clara’s mother, Hortense, has the same views but for her, religion has become a different lens from which she makes sense of history. The generation of the youngest characters experience and see the future in diverse prisms and for different expectations and goals. The Iqbal twins believe in conflicting values. Magid, who lives most of adolescent life in Bangladesh, returns to England with a more Westernized view than the English themselves, while Millat finds truth and peace in fundamentalist religion. Samad is disappointed that Magid becomes more ultra-Westernized, when he planned for him to continue their traditions. The twins follow extremes ideologies that threaten to break their family apart. Irie has her own personal struggles. She is divided between her volunteer work in Africa and an occupation as a dentist and also faces diverse choices for hairdos and weight-loss plans. Irie’s child, however, bears the consequences of Irie’s choices (Chernysheva 3). The demolition of the Berlin Wall represents the demolition of obstacles to individual freedoms and differences (Chernysheva 3). Traditions versus modernity clash in influencing human progress and identity. Samad “moves between positions of authority and deauthorisation or subordination” (Gustar 335). He wants to impose his authority, but he does not have any power over his own family. He exaggerates his claims regarding his life, but he is “also emasculated by a radicalized discourse in an ethnocentric culture that often treats him as subaltern” (Gustar 335). Ironically, he spreads lies about his heritage that only makes him smaller as a person, since he cannot achieve the same level of greatness. Since he cannot control his life, he applies power chiefly over his family and children and even uses kidnapping to send his elder child to Bangladesh (Gustar 335). He does this because he knows that in the end, his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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