White teeth address the aspect of human psyche through the encounters of unassimilated immigrants in a humorous manner. The novel addresses some aspects of genetic engineering that relates to interaction between various cultures, which results to diversity, health as well as strength.
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However, in London, prejudice is manifest and has ruined all this, making assimilation almost impossible since the immigrant’s histories keeps on haunting them. However, this hybridization seems vital for human since genetic variation enhances survival, but like genetic engineering, it could be manipulated to meet selfish needs (Smith 283).
The role of the flashback at the end of the novel further depicts humor and the immigrants’ dilemma in the new social setup. The British cultures are contrasted in a satirical way. Archie Jones is a man forty seven years of age, who contemplate on the mentorship he continues to have from Samad.
The two were together in the army and are immigrants to Britain following the Second World War. Archie becomes aware that in fact, he has entirely relied on Samad for decision making in his entire life. This is when he realizes the identity of a former scientist named Dr. Marc-Pierre Perret, a Nazi physician since the Second World War. Archie and Samad were in the army, being against one enemy.
Samad was not aware that Archie did not shoot the German doctor as seen from the flashback. The doctor is now the leading scientist of the mouse project as Marcus. Archie observe that Millat is gazing at him, and instead sees the aged scientist shedding bloody tears.
Millat could have shot the scientist to end the human pride once and for all but he instead shoots Archie’s thigh. Samad now realizes that Dr. Perret is instead, Dr.Sick and becomes aware that the foundation of their friendship with Archie is not real.
From the flashback to WWII, Archie guides Dr. Perret in the dark to shoot him although he is nervous and dislikes the act. As a result, Dr. Perret utilizes the chance to he drift Archie’s attention to the moral predicament he is in, on whether to remain loyal to his nation as well as Samad or to respect the person’s right to life irrespective of his conduct which might change.
Archie realizes the coin he has in his pocket and tosses it to determine the fate of the doctor where the head would symbolize his murder while the tail his survival.
As he place the gun down to flip the coin over his shoulder and on bending to get it, he is shot by Dr. Perret on his thigh. He reaches for his gun as he criticizes Dr. Perret’s actions, which he terms as unnecessary since the coin was already a tail. Following the flashback, Archie is shot by Millat as he falls and damages the mouse’s cage to release the mouse (Smith 289).
The flashback helps to emphasize on the idea of heredity. During the conference the attendants are supposed to pay recognition to a scientist who could control the destiny of the mouse.
This helps us to understand that immigrants are out of control of their own destiny or identity. Coincidence is brought up in the flashback as individual’s actions as well as emotions are emphasized while in the conference room. Dr. Perret changes drastically from being a Nazi conspirator to a kind pioneer.
This offers optimism that even the immigrants, like the mouse, will once overcome their suppressors. The doomed subject can change their destiny through self realization and re-invention. Similar to a mouse, the socially depraved Dr. Perret could change his fate by becoming benevolent.
Likewise, indecisive Archie could become impetuous by revealing freedom at the right time, as he liberates the mouse out of the cage and becomes a hero. The flashback depicts the immigrants who keeps on being haunted by their past.
This explains their current actions and experiences in pursuit of ethnic identity following colonization. Archie’s dilemma on whether to kill Dr. Perret is conflict on whether to become assimilated, preserve the culture or whether to underscore the value of human relationship due to ethnic differences.
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Smith, Zadie. White teeth: a novel. New York: Random House Inc., 2000. Print.