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The Tempest in an English Teapot: Colonialism and the Measure of a Man in Zadie Smith's White Teeth

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Zadie Smith's White Teeth argues that we can take responsibility for the future if we refuse to act in thrall to the legacies of the past, which favour one human life over another, and act instead with the conviction that all lives are lives (Judith Butler). White Teeth examines the colonial legacy of violence against others and suggests that we can only change what counts as the past for future generations by questioning the modernist ideology of science as liberation. This questioning entails a rethinking of masculinity in its paternal function and also in its symbolic manifestation as a trope for the production of the 'truth' we call science.
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Keywords: White Teeth; Zadie Smith; contemporary British literature; masculinity; modernity; postcolonial literature; science in literature

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Critical Studies Department, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, University of British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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