I will analyse a section of language from the opening chapter of White Teeth by Zadie Smith

In this essay I will analyse a section of language from the opening chapter of White Teeth by Zadie Smith. The areas that will be analysed will include the audience, purpose, lexis, syntax, imagery, rhetoric and register. It will analyse how the author has written his own words coherently for the reader in this extract and create a piece of text that continues to persuade the reader to read on and how the language keeps the reader intrigued and wanting to know more regarding the characters outcome.

This literature is written in the form of a novel, it is narrative as the author uses pronouns such as “he” and “his” which identifies which is written by a third person. The narrator provides access to the characters thoughts and feelings and parts of his life which the character may not be aware of for example: “luck was with him that morning.” This method is very effective in literature as it provides a rhetoric method in which the reader is drawn into the story, the author is trying to convey a sense of trust by providing more information by doing this the reader is able to create a picture of the fictional characters.

In the text it states “sat in a fumed filled car” this makes us aware that the text is based at an adult audience, as a younger audience would misinterpret what the understanding of this passage means. There are religious connotations relevant throughout the extract “in death as he was in life” being a line from the bible and other written work, which had described highly religious men in the past. The language used assumes the reader to be aware of different religions; this makes us look at the purpose of the text and what the author is trying to put forward to the reader. By approaching and acknowledging religion, death, prejudice and ethnicity, which we are all aware of due to previous events such as Northern Irelands religious battle. Prejudice and ethnicity was also made aware by Martin Luther King and makes the reader have a light hearted and humorous approach to the words the author has conveyed. The author is from an Asian background this allows the reader to have their own opinion on values and beliefs on the way the novel has been written. The sensitive issues of death and suicide are balanced with the use of light hearted humour: “no-one gasses themselves on my property” Mo snapped as he marched downstairs “we’re not licensed”. This provided a picture of what a multi-cultural UK looks like in today’s current society, making us aware of previous events in history and everyday changes in society.

The phonology introduces the main character Archie Jones into the novel which is functional “Early in the morning, late in the century…06.27…January 1975”. The use of the line “He was resigned to it. He was prepared for it. He flipped a coin…” this shows the use of monosyllables in the lexis and it reveals that Archie was an army man, therefore everything had to be in order and in sequence. The author uses similes in the written lines of events and in religious connotations: “squeeze between an almighty concrete cinema” this is describing the current surroundings and religiously uses the words “like some fallen angel”. The author leaves us to feel pity for Archie by writing “ decided to take his mistakes with him” this leaves us wanting to further read the novel to find out what those mistakes were. This makes the reader emotional and wanting to know what is so bad to contemplate death.

When looking at the syntax of the text the author uses simple, compound and complex sentence structures. Simple being “The Unlucky”. Compound being “All he asked for was a bit of silence, a bit of shush so he could concentrate. He wanted it to be perfectly quiet and still, like the inside of the confessional box or the moment in the brain between thought and speech”. Complex being “hanging on their hooks like coats around the shop”. The author is using these similes to build climax and furthering the link between the author and the reader. It builds a connection for the reader to find some common ground with the lead character Archie and improving the credibility and strengthening of the novel.

Combining the humour and the image with the use of similes: “A massively overweight Hindu boy on misjudged work experience…looking up like a big dejected blob underneath Mo’s question mark” this continues throughout the text and gets the reader further into the novel creating the readers own imagination to picture what the fictional characters look like. The towns’ name “Cricklewood Broadway” takes the readers imagination to a place of grandeur, bright lights and pretty faces and people. The author is making it apparent it is not a common place that people would go to commit suicide. “not a place a man comes to die:” it was a place in order to go to other places via the A41”, in fact the author describes it as a dirty town “surveying the discarded armchairs… outdoor lounges for drunks”. Language can also describe an area such as Mo’s Mantra “the shit is not the shit” this tells us that the act of clearing up after the pigeons is like a daily ritual for Mo.

Overall the author has used literary methods and language to draw the reader in and has created a strong structured purpose to the novel. It provides the reader with the want to read more and with the use of humour the reader can expect to laugh and see the novel in their own perspective. The use of similes and humour provides the more experienced reader and the sense of humour that is used in the novel will make the novel a pleasure to read and a hard book to put down after the first chapter as the reader has the incentive to read on. This book has deservedly won the Guardian First Book Award and The James Tate Black Memorial Prize for Fiction.