Monday, May 9, 2011

Zadie Smith, Mrs. Begum's Son and the Private Tutor

Saw some people are saying that this short story Mrs. Begum’s Son and the Private Tutor is much easier to understand than the last one, I couldn’t agree more. However, I still found some parts are confusing. Hopefully, we can really get to the depth of this story after class discussion.
Take a look at the author: Zadie Smith’s brief background. Although she danced, acted, and singed through her teenage life, and even dreamed to be an actress when she grow up; she found herself also have the talent of writing, later she studied English Literature in Cambridge University and became a popular writer. Then it became very clear the reason why her short stories appeal to be so dramatic to me.
Briefly, this Short story is about the “I” the narrator was hired as a private tutor of Mrs. Begum’s son: Magid. This Begum family is immigrants, Magid is considered highly talented by his family and the narrator.
I believe that the main theme of this whole story is multiculturalism. Since England is a country with all kinds of cultural mingle together. The author portrayed different people from different cultures, the minorities and the majorities, and middle-class families. At the beginning, Mrs. Begum said to the narrator, “You can never be us and we, thankfully, will never be you. Luckily, in this borough, however, we have mutual understanding. We are all liberals here!” From Mrs. Begum’s point of view, people no matter immigrants or natives, have already figured out a way to deal with each other, that is, keep the differences, but agree on the big picture.
Then again, the story of Magid, he was considered a extremely bright kid, but after years, he became just like anyone else. I guess Zadie Smith is also criticizing the modern education system here.
Anyway, very interesting story. Hope to get to what other people think about it in class.