Tuesday, March 27, 2012

White Teeth by Zadie Smith Ch 12-14

These few chapters, I found hilarious. The Chalfens are interesting characters. They are the type of people who are very book smart but know nothing beyond themselves. They have no common sense or real world ethics. They are contained in their own little world, at least the parents are. Their son Oscar seems not to fit inside that little world, but the parents are oblivious to that fact. I can understand the attraction that Millat and Irie feel for them. The Chalfens let their children do whatever they want, and the parents support it. Joshua was caught smoking pot, and his parents did not seem the least bit concerned about that fact, even though he wasn’t really smoking pot. The freedoms that the Chalfen children have would be intriguing to any child with over-protecting parents. However, as a parent, I think there is a time when you have to stop being your child’s friend and actually be a parent. They even encourage Joshua to have sex! While this may be every teenager’s version of dream parents, they are not really parents. With that said, I have known some real life families where this system actually works. I don’t understand it, but it works. Their children were friends of mine, and they were honor students, well-behaved, and the friends that every parent wishes their children had. They never got spanked or really punished. Any time they did something wrong, their parents would sit down with them and rationalize why it was wrong. I cannot imagine trying that with my children. It would be like preaching to a brick wall. It brings about this whole idea of nature versus nurture. As Mother Chalfen points out, it can’t all be about nurture, genes have to play a part.

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