Social Alienation In Zadie Smith's White Teeth

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Moving to a new country comes with a choice, a choice to embrace a foreign culture or alienate oneself with their own culture. In a world that encourages multiculturalism, it is difficult to believe that immigrants face social alienation. In Zadie Smith’s novel White Teeth, the consequences of multiculturalism and assimilation among immigrant communities gives her readers the opportunity to empathize the feelings of social alienation felt amongst immigrants in the world today.
Many immigrants venture to various countries to create a better life for themselves. With the intention of only temporally living in England to make money, Samad embraced his ethnic Begnali Muslim culture while being surrounded by Western culture. He didn’t make a make
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Both born and raised in England being second-generation Bangladesh, Magid and Millat don’t exactly know their place in society. Each of them explore different identities, therefore alienating themselves from their Bangladesh family roots in the process. Curiosity of Western culture and desire for acceptance makes them confused. It “is typical for the second-generation” to rebel “as they struggle to find their place between the two cultures” (Hadjetian 67). Although identical twins, Magid and Millat “rebel” in different …show more content…
His name alone screams immigrant. Samad and Alsana named him a Muslim name to preserve the culture, however when Magid comes home only day requesting to be called “Mark” rather then Magid, Samad just about has it. He screams "I GIVE YOU A GLORIOUS NAME LIKE MAGID MAHFOOZ MURSHED MUBTASIM IQBAL!..... AND YOU WANT TO BE CALLED MARK SMITH!" (Smith 283). Magid does not appreciate the ethnic value of his name. His name makes him stand out from the crowd, meanwhile he is going through a phase in which all he wants to do is assimilate into the western world. In an attempt to preserve his Bangladesh and religious identity, using the only control he has left over his son’s Western influence, Samad sends Magid to Bangladesh (Novels for Students). Samad controls his family’s traditions in hopes of upholding Bangladesh tradition. It is ironic that Samad hopes that Magid will assimilate to the Bangladesh culture, even though he himself does not even consider embracing Western culture. To Samad’s dismay, Magid arrives home in England atheist and a “pukka Englishman” (Smith 407). The failed experiment makes Samad feel that Magid is “nothing but a disappointment” (Smith 406). Samad was only trying to teach his son to appreciate his ethnicity. Samad points out that “…children are unrecognizable, you belong nowhere." (Smith

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