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“WhiteTeeth successfully satirizes the contrasts and relationships between different cultures” - How far do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

"White Teeth successfully satirizes the contrasts and relationships between different cultures." How far do you agree with this statement? "White Teeth" is a novel based on three, very different North London families, all of which are first, second or third generation immigrants. Zadie Smith provides us with a society portraying the clashing of cultures combined with a blending of race. She manages to use these ingredients to surround the story with witty and intelligent references of satire centred around the subject of race within a twentieth century London and the impact it has upon society in terms of relationships and contrasts between characters. Whereby satire is defined as contemporary issues or foolishness that is criticized by means of ridicule. One of the main and most obvious relationships within the novel is that of Samad and Archie. They are the central figures and their relationship is the basis for the combination of the two families. Samad, who is "a Bengali Muslim" and works as a waiter in a London restaurant, and Archie, who is a middle to lower class British man, that folds paper for a living. The situation in which their friendship originates is during their time serving in the Second World War. Zadie Smith uses this unlikely situation, in which they are both members of a five-man regiment in the claustrophobic surroundings of a tank, to create humour as we discover that the early stages of their relationship were not as content as the later stages. ...read more.

Middle

This unrecognisable behaviour puts Samad in denial and refers to Magid as being, "some clone, this is not an Iqbal." In addition, Zadie Smith uses the descriptive simile to depict Clara and Irie's hostility towards meeting Magid as they refer to it as being, "like switching on your favourite T.V soap only to find a beloved character slyly replaced by another actor with a similar haircut." This satirizes the inexistent relationship between Irie and Magid in comparison to their relationship as children although it may have been brief, and Irie's relationship with Millat. The separation from his brother has a negative effect on Millat; he turns to religious extremism with a militant Islamic group under the ironic Acronym of "KEVIN." This satirizes the intent of the group, which is to gain revenge on the Western world for oppressing non-white people. This adds humour to the serious contemporary issue of extremism in society today. The stupidity of the group is evident as Zadie Smith satirizes Millat's love for "DeNiro and Pacino gangster movies" which shows us that although Millat is serious when joining this group we know that it is partly only to satisfy his childhood dream of becoming a gangster. Before joining "KEVIN" Millat had become quite a sex icon, enjoyed watching gangster films and had become something of a local icon with all the different cultures and felt that, "he had to please all of the people...to the cockney wide-boys he was the joker...to the black boys he was fellow weed-smoker... ...read more.

Conclusion

Joshua rebels against his family's strangeness and their ingrained attitude of intellectual superiority by joining one of the main oppositions against his father, under the "Animal rights movement." Another group opposing Marcus' eccentric scientific experiment is the fundamentalist Islamic organization of, "KEVIN" in which Millat is a prominent member who fear that Marcus believes he can, "improve upon the creation of Allah," therefore seeing him as a huge threat. Zadie Smith also satirizes the final opposition presented within the novel which comes from Irie's grandmother who "causes a commotion" with her fellow old age pensioner Jehovah's Witnesses friends who question Irie's relationship with Marcus referring to her as the "secretary of the devil." Zadie Smith uses this combination of cultures towards the end of the novel to climax the ending and leaves us to contemplate whether our choices determine our future or whether fate leads us to an inevitable destiny. Anne fox has quoted that, "Smith sees the blending of cultures as not so much a reason to mourn the loss of "purity," but as a breeding ground for a new society where difference is secondary to living." She successfully deals with many contemporary issues within the novel such as race, ignorance, friendship and ethics, however the underlying subject is of the situation of immigrants failing to, or being able to gain acceptance in a foreign country. Although Zadie Smith satirizes the contrasts and relationships between different cultures, some people will agree that there is quite a large element of seriousness relating to the prejudice and relationships that immigrants inevitably face when living in a foreign country that possesses different ethics and principles. ...read more.

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