“Speaking in Tongues”, by Zadie Smith is an interesting story where she elaborates on her experiences with choosing one voice which creates a singular voice but she prefer the plurality; having numerous voices. Smith is an artist and was able to appreciate others who (she pin point) also has the ability and understand the innovativeness in being true to self and others. She used great examples to address her issues. Shakespeare whom too is an artist, had the ability to simultaneously speak of the truth to many using his multi-voice that helped established his great followings. Using Shakespeare’s example helped vividly see Smith message in color.
Creating several different lifestyles can bring confusion not only to self but for others as well. “We feel that our voices are who we are, and that to have more than one, or to use different versions of a voice for different occasions, represents, at best, a Janus-faced duplicity, and worst, the loss of our very soul” (1). Imagine going to a party with school friends and bring along your best friend. There will be two different persons at that party self and school self will be present. Speaking correct English might be an indicator to your best friend that an adjustment had been made and might cause a conflict with friend because the familiarity among you two are gone. People that create such a difficult task for them are usually scrutinized by all. Speaking in several tongues and adapting to your environment is a creative way of understanding and communicating with a variety of people.
Being able to adapt to new situation is having the flexibility to meet the need. “But flexibility is something that requires work if it is to be maintained” (1). “Flexibility is a choice, always open to all of us” (9). Smith’s focus is that flexibility is up to you, yourself. Allowing a new outlook on something new and conquering it for a new experience can create a new side of you. There must be willpower to try it and it is ongoing throughout life. This varies from having the will to try new types of food, to traveling to different countries, to learning a new language. These are experiences people take that is considered as being flexible to the newness.
Multi (many) voices
The place for many voices is Dream City, where all understands each other. “It is a place of many voices, where the unified singular self is an illusion”. (4) Crossing barriers brings a new introduction to something new. Allowing you to hear and experience it creates a new self. Different languages and cultures are samples of multi voices/many voices.
Yes, I’ve been there and have visited frequently. What about you? Or do you know how to get there, do you need directions? Once you arrive you’ll always visit. Dream City is where you go into yourself and develop a concept of where and how you going to achieve that task that will bring you to great success, while bring others along for this great adventure. “He had the audacity to suggest that, even if you can’t see it stamped on their faces, most people come from Dream City, too”.(4) Smith shows how many have wished and hoped to make a difference with the acceptance of difference. Dream City is a mental location where all is equal with the same goal.