Autobiography of My Mother

Origin and Resolution in White Teeth and Autobiography of My Mother.

Jamaica Kincaid’s The Autobiography of My Mother and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth are texts primarily concerned with the process and results of colonization. Both follow the progression of the post-colonized generations, and both depict the struggle of the marginalized culture to define itself under the weight and scrutiny of the dominant culture, yet White Teeth follows the colonization to its historical conclusion: immigration. We see a cultural backlash of destabilized colonized nations following the colonist home. So what is the effect of these processes on the colonized and the immigrant? Are they one and the same? And what is the natural conclusion of these forms of cultural tension? The outcome is the same in both texts, though the processes are approached at different points in their development: a cultural identity cannot survive whole in a constant state of duality. Something must be resolved in order for a generation to emerge which can exist contained, unambiguous, and self defined. White Teeth shows us the long, winding list of events that result in the resolution of this generation, which it treats as a hopeful development, while The Autobiography of My Mother takes on a far more pessimistic view, where the only...

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