Wednesday, April 4, 2012

White Teeth by Zadie Smith Ch 15-20

These last few chapters were difficult to read through. There was a lot of technical stuff, such as ideologies, medical explanations, and preaching, that made it slow and painful.

I liked how all of the different plots culminated in this one event at the end. It was interesting to read the different sides of the “genetics” argument. I don’t know how I feel about the ending. It almost seems like a waste of time. The end just didn’t seem justify all of the build up to the event. Interestingly, the twins end up together. After all that was done by themselves and their family for them to turn out different from each other, they both ended up together sharing a punishment. Maybe, they will realize that they cannot escape each other. Irie ends up with Josh, who is now “step-dad” to the Millat/Magid offspring, living in the Caribbean with grandma. The parents (the Jones/Iqbals) end up the same as they have always been. In fact, nothing seems to have changed in the end.


  1. I'm glad you like the way the author resolves the novel--I do too, but some of the students in the corporeal classroom think it wraps up too artificially (neatly).
    If nothing changes in the book, does this ending mean that racism is always the same for people in Britain/people in general? For me, the only people who seem to change in the novel are Josh and Irie. Do you think Millat and Magid are unable to change?

    1. I do think that in some ways that the novel is pointing out that racism still exists, even though most try to convince themselves that it doesn't. It doesn't mean that things cannot change. In fact, I think that the different views between the parents and kids demonstrates that racism, in some ways, is being "bred" out. Three generations are present in the novel: the old man that the kids visit who denies the presence of "Indians" during the war, the parents who are racially tolerant but still think their way is best, and the children who are blended and unfamiliar with racial boundaries. Each generation is less racial than the one before it.
      I do not think that the twins are unable to change. For Irie and Josh, the climax of the novel (the mouse presentation) was the climax of their personal stories. They both had been searching for who they were, and I think that the story climax coincides with their life climaxes. The twins' life stories have really just begun with each other. That is why we see them changed but not the twins. I think if their was a sequel novel, we would see that change in the life of the twins.