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Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth” Quotes (26 Quotes)


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  • I'm serious. I don't know how you work like that. My school shit is better organized, and I'm not in the business of World Domination.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Because immigrants have always been particularly prone to repetition - it's something to do with that experience of moving from West to East or East to West or from island to island. Even when you arrive, you're still going back and forth; your children are going round and round. There's no proper term for it - original sin seems too harsh; maybe original trauma would be better.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • It wasn't like the spare rooms of immigrants - packed to the rafters with all that they have ever possessed, no matter how defective or damaged, mountains of odds and ends - the stand testament to the fact that they have things now, where before they had nothing.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Blimey, thought Kelvin, what an eye-to-face ratio. When you want to say something delicate, you don't want that eye-to-face ration staring up at you. Big eyes, like a child's or a baby seal's; the physiognomy of innocence--looking at Archie Jones is like looking at something that expects to be clubbed round the head any second.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • One just has to look at the thing from a perspective that interests you personally.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")


  • But why think the more reasons there were to sin, the smaller the sin was?
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Pulchritude--beauty where you would least suspect it, hidden in a word that looked like it should signify a belch or a skin infection.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Sacrifice was nine tenths of parenting.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • So there existed fathers who dealt in the present, who didn't drag ancient history around like a ball and chain. So there were men who were not neck-deep and sinking in the quagmire of the past.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • For ridding oneself of faith is like boiling seawater to retrieve the salt--something is gained but something is lost.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Sometimes Allah punishes and sometimes men have to do it, and it is a wise man who knows if it's Allah's turn or his own.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • Full stories are as rare as honesty.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")

  • These days, it feels to me like you make a devil's pact when you walk into this country. You hand over your passport at the check-in, you get stamped, you want to make a little money, get yourself started... but you mean to go back! Who would want to stay? Cold, wet, miserable; terrible food, dreadful newspapers - who would want to stay? In a place where you are never welcomed, only tolerated. Just tolerated. Like you are an animal finally house-trained.
    (Zadie Smith, "White Teeth")


    More Zadie Smith Quotations (Based on Topics)


    Time - Love - Sin - Past - Religions & Spirituality - Trauma - Countries - Food - Man - Parenting - Performance Arts - Society & Civilization - Woman - Fathers - Morning - People - Thought & Thinking - Water - Children - Facts - View All Zadie Smith Quotations

    More Zadie Smith Quotations (By Book Titles)


    - White Teeth

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