a case of bald social climbing but at the time I genuinely thought this was the

A case of bald social climbing but at the time i

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a case of bald social climbing but at the time, I genuinely thought this was the voice of lettered people, and that if I didn’t have the voice of lettered people I would never truly be lettered. A braver person, perhaps, would have stood firm, teach her peers a useful lesson by example: not all lettered people need to be of the same class, nor speak identically. I went the other way. Partly out of cowardice and a constitutional eagerness to please, but also because I didn’t quite see it as a straight swap, of this voice for that. My own childhood had been the story of this and that combined, of the synthesis of disparate things. And for a while, that’s how it was: at home, during the holidays, I spoke with my old voice, and in the old voice seemed to feel and speak things that I couldn’t express in college, and vice versa. I felt a sort of wonder at the flexibility of the thing. Like being alive twice.” In the opening paragraph of her 2008 essay, “Speaking in Tongues”, Zadie Smith describes the way that ‘the synthesis of disparate things’ defines her life, and she expresses wonder at the ‘flexibility’ of her voice, her ability to move between different registers of speech and different communities (school and home, for instance). Smith’s investment in exploring what it means to be ‘mixed’— linguistically, racially, and otherwise also appears in her novel On Beauty . In an essay, analyze how Smith represents intermixing in terms of both form and content. What aspects of mixing does Smith celebrate? Does she critique mixing and if she does, how does she make this criticism? Make sure that you use detailed evidence from the novel both its formal aspects and its plot to justify the points you make in this essay.
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