White Teeth Quotes

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White Teeth White Teeth by Zadie Smith
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White Teeth Quotes (showing 1-30 of 180)
“You are never stronger...than when you land on the other side of despair.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“It's a funny thing about the modern world. You hear girls in the toilets of clubs saying, "Yeah, he fucked off and left me. He didn't love me. He just couldn't deal with love. He was too fucked up to know how to love me." Now, how did that happen? What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll---then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“If religion is the opiate of the people, tradition is an even more sinister analgesic, simply because it rarely appears sinister. If religion is a tight band, a throbbing vein, and a needle, tradition is a far homelier concoction: poppy seeds ground into tea; a sweet cocoa drink laced with cocaine; the kind of thing your grandmother might have made.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
tags: apt
“You must live life with the full knowledge that your actions will remain. We are creatures of consequence.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“...They cannot escape their history any more than you yourself can lose your shadow.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“...the wicked lie, that the past is always tense and the future, perfect.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“In the end, your past is not my past and your truth is not my truth and your solution - is not my solution.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“Our children will be born of our actions. Our accidents will become their destinies. Oh, the actions will remain. It is a simple matter of what you will do when the chips are down, my friend. When the fat lady is singing. When the walls are falling in, and the sky is dark, and the ground is rumbling. In that moment our actions will define us. And it makes no difference whether you are being watched by Allah, Jesus, Buddah, or whether you are not. On cold days a man can see his breath, on a hot day he can't. On both occasions, the man breathes.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“Then he gave her a kiss on the forehead that felt like a baptism and she wept like a baby.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“This is what divorce is: taking things you no longer want from people you no longer love.”
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
“... don't ever underestimate people, don't ever underestimate the pleasure they receive from viewing pain that is not their own... Pain by itself is just Pain. But Pain + Distance can = entertainment, voyeurism, human interest, cinéma vérité, a good belly chuckle, a sympathetic smile, a raised eyebrow, disguised contempt.”
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
Please. Do me this one, great favor, Jones. If ever you hear anyone, when you are back home...if ever you hear anyone speak of the East," and here his voice plummeted a register, and the tone was full and sad, "hold your judgment. If you are told 'they are all this' or 'they do this' or 'their opinions are these,' withhold your judgment until all the facts are upon you. Because that land they call 'India' goes by a thousand names and is populated by millions, and if you think you have found two men the same among that multitude, then you are mistaken. It is merely a trick of the moonlight.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“Where I come from," said Archie, "a bloke likes to get to know a girl before he marries her."
"Where you come from it is customary to boil vegetables until they fall apart. This does not mean," said Samad tersely, "that it is a good idea.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“No fiction, no myths, no lies, no tangled webs - this is how Irie imagined her homeland. Because homeland is one of the magical fantasy words like unicorn and soul and infinity that have now passed into language.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“Full stories are as rare as honesty.”
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
“Generally, women can't do this, but men retain the ancient ability to leave a family and a past. They just unhook themselves, like removing a fake beard, and skulk discreetly back into society, changed men. Unrecognizable.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“I cannot believe homosexuality is that much fun. Heterosexuality certainly is not.”
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
“...despite all this, it is still hard to admit that there is no one more English than the Indian, no one more Indian than the English. There are still young white men who are angry about that; who will roll out at closing time into the poorly lit streets with a kitchen knife wrapped in a tight fist. But it makes an immigrant laugh to hear the fears of the nationalist, scared of infection, penetration, miscegenation, when this is small fry, peanuts, compared to what the immigrant fears - dissolution, disappearance.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“When the male organ of a man stands erect, two thirds of his intelect go away. And one third of his religion.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“That girl,' tutted Alsana as her front door slammed, 'swallowed an encyclopedia and a gutter at the same time.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“We are split people. For myself, half of me wishes to sit quietly with legs crossed, letting the things that are beyond my control wash over me. But the other half wants to fight a holy war. Jihad! And certainly we could argue this out in the street, but I think, in the end, your past is not my past and your truth is not my truth and your solution---it is not my solution. So I do not know what it is you would like me to say. Truth and firmness is one suggestion, though there are many people you can ask if that answer does not satisfy. Personally, my hope lies in the last days. The prophet Muhammad---peace be upon Him!---tells us that on the Day of Resurrection everyone will be struck unconscious. Deaf and dumb. No chitchat. Tongueless. And what a bloody relief that will be.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“... Clara was a teenage girl like any other; the object of her passion was only an accessory to the passion itself, a passion that through its long suppression was now asserting itself with volcanic necessity.”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
“(and Catholics give out forgiveness at about the same rate as politicians give out promises and whores give out)”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth

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