Zadie Smith Essay Speaking In Tongues

Zadie Smith Essay Speaking In Tongues-84
Stylistically, the book seems to be trying on different modes of narrative, as if to ask, which one suits me?Natalie is the book’s most engrossing character, and her section (the book’s final third) comprises the text’s most compelling narrative.

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In’ speaking in Tongues’ a recent address given by Zadie Smith in New York, in part concerned with the election of Barack Obama as President, Smith identifies and locates herself in terms of accent and class, thereby exhibiting, as she admits in this essay, a characteristically English obsession.

Smith notes that she left university with a changed ‘posher’ accent adopted so that she might feel confident about being regarded by others as intellectually credible.

I picked it up in college, along with the unabridged Clarissa and a taste for port.

Ultimately, Natalie’s story suggests a certain type of domestic tragedy, as her internal struggles propel her toward wayward behavior—in this case, comic internet-arranged sex romps.

Her husband finds out her secret, and the book ends as he begins to pull away from her emotionally. After her husband confronts her, Natalie embarks on an all-night bender with Nathan Bogle, a shadow character who attended school with Leah and Natalie, and now is a neighborhood addict.

Through their night together, she becomes convinced that he had a part in the death of Felix, the subject of the book’s second section.Words meander and shape-shift across the page; characters come and go.The novel’s best moments aren’t its fractured bits — in fact, it slows when it comes to these onomatopoeic sections that read like the city speaking.Willesden was a big, colorful, working-class sea; Cambridge was a smaller, posher pond, and almost univocal; the literary world is a puddle.’ Clearly there is suggested here a transitional set of affiliations, even a shift of identity perhaps, both of a particularly English kind. In so doing, part of my focus will be Smith’s evocations of Englishness, both cultural and literary aspects, as expressed in her writing generally and in certain specific ruminations about her life.By choosing “I agree” below, you agree that NPR’s sites use cookies, similar tracking and storage technologies, and information about the device you use to access our sites to enhance your viewing, listening and user experience, personalize content, personalize messages from NPR’s sponsors, provide social media features, and analyze NPR’s traffic.This information is shared with social media services, sponsorship, analytics and other third-party service providers. By Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, 401 pp., .95) In college, Zadie Smith began to lose her voice.The smaller print of some of these sections entices the reader to gloss them over with little loss to the pleasure or coherence of reading the novel.The strongest sections are, in order, the final section and the second, for their characters and the dramatic way in which the writer unfolds their stories (the final one chronologically illustrates the character’s life from grade school to mid-thirties).When she “went up” to Cambridge—the British use a phrase suggesting ascension for enrollment at university—from the working-class neighborhood in northwest London where she grew up, she picked up a new way of speaking, “along with the unabridged Clarissa and a taste for port.” At first, she recalls, she used the two voices interchangeably: “at home, during the holidays, I spoke with my old voice, and in the old voice seemed to feel and speak things that I couldn’t express in college, and vice versa.” But the doubleness could not persist.At some point, the new voice hounded out the old, to her continuing regret.

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