What are the literary conventions used that contribute to the elements of racial and cultural hybridity in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth?

A literary convention used in White Teeth that contributes to the elements of racial and cultural hybridity is metanarrative.

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One literary convention that contributes to the elements of racial and cultural hybridity in White Teeth relates to metanarrative. The conventions of metanarrative are in the details. In a metanarrative, seemingly minor nuances join together to determine what happens to the characters.

In Zadie Smith’s novel, the appearance of pigeons halts Archie Jones’s suicide attempt. This detail links to other ostensibly random details, like Archie’s coin flips. Of course, in a metanarrative, few details are truly random. Smith uses the details to introduce Archie to Clara Bowden. Their marriage creates racial and cultural hybridity, as Archie is a white Englishman and Clara is an immigrant from Jamaica whose mom is an intense Jehovah’s Witness.

The metanarrative literary conventions also help contribute to the racial and cultural hybridity in Magid and Millat. Magid is the older brother. He was born two minutes before Millat. These couple of minutes have a big impact on the two characters. They send Magid to another culture (Bangladesh) and lead Millat to dabble with Islamic fundamentalism within Western culture.

Besides the conventions of metanarrative, one could argue that the conventions of realism contribute to White Teeth’s racial and cultural hybridity. London is a diverse place in real life, so it makes sense for Smith’s characters to possess a plurality of identities and backgrounds.

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