An Analysis of White Teeth by Zadie Smith

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Zadie Smith's multicultural, post colonial novel has been widely discussed in the literary world. At the age of 25, Zadie Smith captures the immensely believable lives of an aging Bangladeshi Muslim man, a too-concerned middle-class white woman poking her nose in all the wrong business, and an adolescent half-Jamaican girl with self-esteem issues. Over the span of about 30 years, the three families in the book undergo a wide web of separate but somehow connected circumstances, and Smith became an award- winning author because of her writing.
It is not to say that Smith has not gone through criticism. Here's what one review had to say about the (at the time) budding author:
"This kind of precocity in so young a writer has …show more content…

She earns her awards through an expansive, almost manic style that she makes her own, which is why it earns its placement into the genre coined hysterical realism
(Wood). In studying the many parts that make up her style, we can gain a better appreciation for what made Zadie Smith jump from an English undergraduate student in Cambridge to the literary darling she is today (O' Grady).

The first technique to be mentioned involves a quality of the book that is first displayed before the story even starts, enveloped in a quote on a single page before her acknowledgments:
“What is past is prologue”. And to White Teeth, it's true; every major instance in the plot is somehow rooted in the previous generation. Smith's style in developing this central idea is much like the spastic jumping of time sequence that film director Quentin Tarantino displays, enriching the detail of the stories involved by going to scenarios before the main action, returning to the present plot, and even returning back to the past to reveal even more that has been withheld. A notable example of this is one of the last scenes in the book, with Archie uncovering what actually happened in his first encounter with 'Dr. Sick', previously concealed by Smith with the sound of a gun shot and Archie's limping features. But this style is featured not just as a method of obscuring plot and creating suspense;

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