Women Deconstructing History in Search of their Own Voice and Identity

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Ijeoma D. Odoh


Zadie Smith’s White Teeth focuses on immigrants’ life experiences in the postwar British society. The novel is said to herald a new voice of multiculturalism and is often compared to the construction of hybrid identity that writers such as Salman Rushdie and Hanif Kureishi explore in their works. In her portrayal of an evolving multicultural British society, Smith takes a broader approach as she introduces characters from different ethnic, cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds to show how people from diverse backgrounds adapt and negotiate their identities. While I pay attention to questions of race, identity, multiculturalism, hybridity, and migration, I seek to examine in detail the place of history in nation building, especially in relation to the way history is deconstructed and rearticulated by women in their construction of a rhizomatic womb-space. I contend that an exploration of women’s history or herstory in Smith’s novel is not only important because it provides an alternative history that speaks of women’s experiences but more so because of the new world and social relations that it constructs as it emphasizes journeys, (dis)connections, ruptures, and displacements as possible modes of identity formation for women rather than the stable core or continuities that history promotes.

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Odoh, I. D. (2020). Women Deconstructing History in Search of their Own Voice and Identity. Humanities Bulletin, 3(2), 173–189. Retrieved from https://www.journals.lapub.co.uk/index.php/HB/article/view/1677

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