Zadie Smith's White Teeth: The Interpellation of the Colonial Subject in Multicultural Britain

Bağlama S. H.

JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE LITERATURE AND CULTURE, vol.66, pp.77-90, 2019 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 66
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/20512856.2019.1638007
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.77-90
  • Keywords: Zadie Smith, White Teeth, Marx's theory of alienation, double alienation, escape mechanisms
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


White Teeth (2000) fictionalises the realities that immigrants experience and reveals how they find themselves caught in a chaotic, fragmented and alienated world and seek to actualise themselves through similar escape mechanisms. Through a close reading of the novel, this article, suggesting that a literary text subjectively mediates actual, imagined or reimagined histories in a given period and manifests specific historical contexts through an aesthetic individualisation of the socio-historical totality, attempts to theorise the concept of double alienation from a Marxist perspective and to justify its arguments in response to recent intellectual and political histories and theoretical interventions. In order to provide a different interpretation of the process of alienation and to discuss the twofold escape mechanisms of the colonial subject, this article will, in this context, mainly focus on Samad M. Iqbal and his two sons, Millat and Magid, and analyse how they internalise the socio-cultural and political orientations of white supremacy, run through a state of loss, atomisation, meaninglessness and powerlessness and struggle to escape from and nullify the negatives impacts of the process of double alienation in the colonial centre.