If We Could "Just All Get Along": Bonnie Greer Watches a Rose-Tinted Adaptation of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. (Television)

By Greer, Bonnie | New Statesman (1996), September 23, 2002 | Go to article overview

If We Could "Just All Get Along": Bonnie Greer Watches a Rose-Tinted Adaptation of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. (Television)


Greer, Bonnie, New Statesman (1996)


A fine adaptation not only renders a literary work into watchable drama, but it can also illuminate the novel itself and throw up hidden parts that are sometimes obscured by the very language and style of the book.

Simon Burke's four-part dramatisation of Zadie Smith's award-winning first novel captures all the verve and sheer confidence of this important debut, while Julian Jarrold's restless camera matches the amazing sweep of the work. The production never flattens out the narrative, and is one of the few examples of a made-for-television epic that makes you want to reread the source material.

Burke has broken this huge novel open and divided it into four parts. Each part is a kind of odyssey through Willesden, north London. We visit the pubs, the Indian restaurants, the exteriors and interiors of homes and schools, all accompanied by a great soundtrack from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s.

The performances are, for the most part, wonderful--especially from Christopher Simpson in the dual role of the twins Magid and Millat, and Om Puri as the father, Samad Iqbal. It is their work that reveals the other layer of White Teeth.

In part one, we are introduced to a black woman Clara, a refugee from her mother's fanatical attachment to the Jehovah's Witnesses. Clara eventually finds solace in sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. She escapes the restrictions of her mother's faith, and ends up with Archie Jones, adrift in his own world of loserdom. Her mother preaches that the end of the world will occur on New Year's Eve, and when it doesn't happen, Clara and Archie marry.

From the mirth and optimism of episode one, things turn darker, so to speak, as Samad struggles against his lust for his sons' teacher. Again, it is interracial sex that sets him free, but not free enough to escape the edicts of his religious conscience. He sends one of his twin sons, Magid (the one who saw evidence of his adultery), to Pakistan in order to become the Muslim he himself cannot be.

It is the evil of fundamentalism that becomes evident as the other message of White Teeth. Whether it is the fundamentalism of animal rights lovers, of Irie's Bible-bashing grandmother or of certain tenets of Islam, it can all be dealt with if we adhere to the words of LA police victim Rodney King and "just all get along".

Yet curiously, Irie, the child of Archie and Clara, who should be the torch-carrier of this message, is strangely under-powered. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

If We Could "Just All Get Along": Bonnie Greer Watches a Rose-Tinted Adaptation of Zadie Smith's White Teeth. (Television)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.