59 pages 1 hour read

Zadie Smith

Swing Time

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2016

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Part 4

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4: “Middle Passage”

Part 4, Chapter 1 Summary

On the way to pick up Aimee from the airport, the narrator and her guide, a dancer and teacher-in-training named Lamin, come across a Kankurang, a celebratory dance ritual that functions as a “guide who leads the young through their difficult middle passage, from childhood to adolescence” (166). The Kankurang is specifically for boys, so the narrator wonders who helps guide girls.

Part 4, Chapter 2 Summary

The narrative flashes back to Tracey and the narrator as preteens. Tracey goes through puberty earlier than the other girls. She starts dressing provocatively; her mother finally has a job and doesn’t notice. The other girls shun Tracey, and even the narrator is only friendly with her when Tracey is nice to her. Tracey encourages the attention from boys at school and lets them pay her to touch her breasts. The narrator’s mother predicts that Tracey will get pregnant soon and continue the cycle of poverty and single motherhood.

Part 4, Chapter 3 Summary

The narrative flashes forward to the Kankurang, which makes the narrator miss the ferry that will bring her to the airport to pick up

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By Zadie Smith