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Roots in White Teeth

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Cierra Meurant

on 17 November 2016

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Transcript of Roots in White Teeth

Clara Losing her Teeth
page 37
Things to Consider
Discussion Questions
Teeth and their Roots
Our Claim
White Teeth
by Zadie Smith, there are many instances where references to teeth are present. While in a literal sense, teeth need roots in order to be considered a functional part of the body, in a figurative sense, teeth reflect the importance of one's personal roots by connecting individuals to their past (i.e. religious beliefs, ethnicity, culture, etc.) and therefore influencing their current identity.
Connections to Values: Literal and Figurative Roots in
White Teeth

By Mikayla Siedentopf and Cierra Meurant
Works Cited
Arikan, Seda. "'History' and 'root' in Zadie Smith's White
Teeth." International Journal of Social Science, 2013. 1679-1697. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

Smith, Zadie.
White Teeth
. New York: Random House,
2000. Print.

Watts, Jarica Linn. "‘We Are Divided People, Aren't
We?’ The Politics Of Multicultural Language And Dialect Crossing In Zadie Smith's White Teeth." Textual Practice 27.5 (2013): 851-874. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.
"We are divided people, aren't we?" The politics of multicultural language and dialect crossing in Zadie Smith's White Teeth
“...the long-held belief regarding ethnicity as an ‘unchangeable inheritance’ is limiting, in that it only offers individuals two choices: ‘they can either (a) embrace and cultivate their own ethnicity, or (b) deemphasize it and drop it as a relevant category” (Watts, 855).

by Jarica Linn Watts
“...there is a defining force in the universe and it is bad luck. It’s not random. It could never have fallen on the right side, so the argument goes, because it’s Sod’s Law. In short, Sod’s law happens to you to prove to you that there is a Sod’s Law. Yet, unlike gravity, it is a law that does not exist whatever happens: when the toast lands on the right side, Sod’s Law mysteriously disappears. Likewise, when Clara fell, knocking the teeth out of the top of her mouth, while Ryan stood up without a scratch, Ryan knew it was because God had chosen Ryan as one of the saved and Clara as one of the unsaved. Not because one was wearing a helmet and the other wasn’t. And had it happened the other way around, had gravity reclaimed Ryan’s teeth and sent them rolling down Primrose Hill like tiny enamel snowballs, well...you can bet your life that God, in Ryan’s mind, would have done a vanishing act”
Magid Pulling Away from his Roots
page 126
"Yes, M— M— Mark," said Alsana, close to tears at this final snub, the replacement of "Mum" for "Amma." "Do not be late, now." "I GIVE YOU A GLORIOUS NAME LIKE MAGID MAHFOOZ MURSHED MUBTASIM IQBAL!" Samad had yelled after Magid when he returned home that evening and whipped up the stairs like a bullet to hide in his room. "AND YOU WANT TO BE CALLED MARK SMITH!" But this was just a symptom of a far deeper malaise. Magid really wanted to be in some other family. He wanted to own cats and not cockroaches, he wanted his mother to make the music of the cello, and not the sound of the sewing machine”
Samad and Poppy in the Car
page 152
“She dived into her handbag, and in the attenuated minute in which she scrabbled through lipsticks and car-keys and spare change, two things happened. 1. Samad closed his eyes and heard the words To the pure all things are pure and then, almost immediately afterwards, Can’t say fairer than that. 2.Samad opened his eyes and saw quite clearly by the bandstand his two sons, their white teeth biting into waxy apples, waving, smiling. And then Poppy resurfaced, triumphant, with a piece of red plastic in her hand. ‘A toothbrush,’ she said.”
'History' and 'Root' in Zadie Smith's White
by Seda Arikan
"The novel, which presents the characters' past and roots with many minor stories, functions as a historical bond connecting the past to the present and the future... This study examines the place and significance of "history" and "root" in the life of multi-ethnic and/or immigrant families and their racially and/or culturally hybrid children in White Teeth" (Arikan 1679).
1. What role do teeth play on a deeper level? What do they represent, if anything?

2. Many of the main characters in the novel represent a culturally diverse and multi-ethnic background. In what ways do their roots impact their current identity, if at all?
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