Narrative Structures in Zadie Smith's White Teeth and Toni Morrison's Beloved

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Narrative Structures in Zadie Smith's White Teeth and Toni Morrison's Beloved

The novels 'White Teeth' by Zadie Smith and 'Beloved' by Toni Morrison both explore many different issues. However, a principle theme that appears to be common in both is the way in which the past influences the present profoundly and both authors use the narrative structures of the books to present this idea to the reader. The exploration of the relationships between characters through time, the past haunting the present and the way in which history and culture is revealed through the past are important devices used to show the emotions and further the plot. Each author does this in a very different way though and this is the power of the
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The use of this device, one action in the present, reveals actions of the past with
FATE, the animal rights organization which Joshua is a member of,
KEVIN the extreme religious cult which Millat joins and the Jehovah's witnesses that Hortense, Clara's mother is a part of. These sections of society stretch over the past in the book 'White Teeth' where the quest for religion and preservation of culture plays a key role and therefore, Smith uses one event in the present to reveal several events of the past. It almost appears that her aim is to remind her reader that events in the past are not necessarily to be kept in the past. Throughout her debut novel she ensures that the past plays a significant role in the present to ensure that it is not forgotten.

This same theory is used in the novel 'Beloved' that is used in 'White
Teeth'. Past events hold the key to what happens in the present.
However, the narrative structure of the novel is looser than that seen in 'White Teeth' with time almost 'flowing' from present to the past.
Therefore, the links are more direct and the reader is able to see the effect of the past on the present more immediately whereas, in 'White
Teeth' the reader has to create links over time to see how the events that occur in the present day actually stem from the past. Throughout the novel, words like 'forgotten' are not used, the past is not forgotten, simply 'disremembered' and this accentuates

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