White Teeth Are Immigrants : An Interview With Zadie Smith Essay

1410 Words Apr 13th, 2016 6 Pages
“The people in White Teeth are immigrants” (“An Interview With Zadie Smith”). Before introducing the topic of this paper it is important to understand a few terms and the history behind the novel White Teeth. Said herself; Zadie Smith claims that the characters in White Teeth are immigrants. With the topic of immigration comes the idea of assimilation, which is the “process by which a person or a group 's language and, or culture come to resemble those of another group” (PowerPoint). Characters in this book are from all over the world (Jamaica, England, Bengal) and while set in England all characters must in some way assimilate to the culture of the people around them. This book explores the history of colonization of India and its surrounding nations by the British, in a fictional setting. This paper will primarily focus on the state of Alsana and Irie, with a brief comparison to Samad and Millat, exposing the complete liminality of the female characters against the stability of their male counterparts. Firstly examining Alsana Iqbal. Alsana is an important character to look at when considering the cultural liminality of the novel. Her cultural identity is in a perpetual fluid state. Moving from a stable identity to more liberal ties with her home country and roots. “’I don’t know them! You fight in an old, forgotten war with some Englishman…married to a black! Whose friends are they? These are the people my child will grow up around? Their children – half blacky-white”…

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