White Teeth Character Analysis

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INTRODUCTION: The contemporary England sans the 'Empire ' in the geographical sense (post-empire Britain) remained an empire - metamorphosed as the 'home land ' for many of its colonized subjects who embraced it as their 'father/mother land ' which nurtures in multifarious ways. In the post colonial period many of the once colonized countries though independent politically, could not guarantee a peaceful or abundant life to their citizens either in terms of material wealth or in terms of individual independence and dignity. As such, many of the African, Caribbean and Asian post colonial sons/daughters have voluntarily migrated to this prosperous and civilized 'father/mother land ' anticipating a dignified, independent and wealthy life.…show more content…
327). THE CONTEXT: Considering the prevailing discriminating identity politics Smith in her novel White Teeth depicts the emerging themes such as: identity, alienation and strong ties with the colonial/cultural past. As a postcolonial and multicultural novel, White Teeth presents historical consciousness in two dimensional manner; racial history and personal history. Irie one of the major characters of the novel constantly longs to know her roots/history and her ancestors. Smith confirms the traces of this longing in her interview to Atlantis: A women 's Studies Journal stating: If I see kids walking down the streets, the first thing I think, if they are slightly brown, or have slightly Asian eyes, I want to know where their parents are from, how they got here; I ' m totally obsessed with it. Partly because people asked me so often when I was child, where I was from, what my parents about, how come one was black one was white. It makes you attentive to those details.…show more content…
Her personal experiences of self- alienation, cultural longing and racial discrimination are made evident through this character. Irie Ambrosia Jones was born and grew up in multicultural London. Her first name is a patios word simply means ' 'everything OK, cool, peaceful” (p. 64) but the paradox is nothing is cool or peaceful in her life. She is the daughter of Archie Jones - white English father and Clara Bowden - black Jamaican immigrant mother. As the novelist puts it Irie 's Jamaican roots will not let her remain peaceful as England the " gigantic mirror" will not offer a reflection for her and she feels like "A stranger in a stranger land" (p. 266). This feeling of strangeness (in other words alienation) that Irie undergoes is generated from the biracial parenting and for many second generation immigrants’ children, this turns problematic because in the multi-cultural society many will be probing into these details. Thus bi-racial children like Irie remain native (rather jamaican) in body and white in spirit being sunk in perpetual dichotomies while living in London. Their self identity remains in flux in the so called multicultural London society where white
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