Essay Preview: White Teeth
Report this essay
I found the book White Teeth to be very interesting, it tackled a lot of issues that maybe somewhat common nowadays but approached it in a very universal way so that anyone from any background could understand it. The book touches on what itÐ²Ð‚™s like for families of different cultural backgrounds to come together and live somewhere completely unlike where they are from and try to teach their children to keep their the families traditional ways of life.
This task can be very hard for immigrant families of every culture. People try and keep their values and their culture alive through their children, but the only the reason the parents know it from their surroundings and their own families before them. But when you immigrate to a new land and try and raise your children there, you have taken them out of those surroundings and the new place becomes what they adapt and learn from. This is why a lot of the second generations of immigrants often speak both languages and then the third speaks only English and possibly little to none of their original language.
I can relate a lot to this book because I grew up in a multicultural household. My mother was American and my father Mexican. Growing up I learned a lot of both sides and as a I child I think I was more amerced in it, I was the second generation and when youÐ²Ð‚™re young you have that real sense of identity in your culture because itÐ²Ð‚™s there, your parents laid it out for you and itÐ²Ð‚™s what you know. But as you get older when you start to look for your own identity some of that background is lost because itÐ²Ð‚™s at home, itÐ²Ð‚™s a part of that life and now itÐ²Ð‚™s time for you to find your own.
In the book Samad tries to keep his values and cultural background alive through his sonÐ²Ð‚™s by sending them back to Bangladesh where they are from, but only has enough to send one son so he sends Magid, the smarter of the two who he felt would benefit the most from the experience. Despite SamadÐ²Ð‚™s best intentions Magid ends up becoming something completely different than what he had intended.
I thought it was sort of ironic that Samad tried to push culture on his family and neither boys really took too much interest in it while they were growing up. And then you have Archie and Clara who never really tried to push their roots on to Irie, but she ended up being the one most interested in her familyÐ²Ð‚™s background in culture throughout the entire book.
This goes to show you that these sorts of beliefs arenÐ²Ð‚™t something that can really be imposed onto people. We can be influenced and we can be guided, but ultimately I think itÐ²Ð‚™s our experience that shapes who we end up becoming. Neither of SamadÐ²Ð‚™s sons ended up becoming who he wanted them to be despite that fact that he encouraged Magid and did not for Millat. I like the example of both of them the best throughout the book because they are both twins and essentially the same person at the start, but their personality and their experiences as they grow up result in two completely different people.
And even though I believe that it is our experience that separates