Review of Zadie Smith's "Stuart"

780 Words 4 Pages
Whether one is from Europe or Asia, human nature, personal ethics, and the individual conscience are all aspects that build up a person’s character and personality. These are the aspects that lead us to make decisions, to reason, and most importantly to make judgements. Zadie Smith’s writing involves various cultures and generations and these different perspectives resonate with human thoughts and feelings. In her short story, “Stuart”, Zadie Smith uses comparisons and various other literary techniques to portray the significance of creating judgements from only one’s perceptions; as well as, the importance and impact of change on individuals.
“He lies like an eyewitness” (5). An eyewitness’s story is usually one that develops solely from
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Words such as: “womanish” (5), “wisps” (5), and “spindly” (5) give a sense of an immature, childish, and awkward demeanour. Another aspect of her writing style that is appealing is the way she relates these boys to nature and defines them in biological terms, “...extremities of flamingos...”(5), “...might be prehensile...”(5), “...evolutionary development...”(6). This descriptive format—using natural instead of cultural references--serves greatly to universalize her descriptions and examples; and by doing so she allows the narrator and various characters to take any form the reader can associate with. Through this way not only does the reader learn about the teenage boys, but also about the narrator and how the narrator, like most men and women, is quick to observe and make assumptions. She is able to show how humans define each other by their actions, appearances and how this leads to judgements. These judgments, if negative, have the ability to develop into racial and class tensions.
In this passage, Zadie Smith refers to the concept of metamorphosis in both its physical and psychological forms. The boys are experiencing great changes in their physical bodies with transformations of their hair, limbs, hands, and feet. However, these boys are also changing their behaviour, “...they are always in a pack and on the move...” (6). This passage describes these boys in the middle of a transitional phase by describing these boys through contradictory phrases:
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