White Teeth Assignment


WhiteTeeth Assignment

  1. What significance does Samad`s great-grandfather play in history and in Samad`s life?

Samad’sgreat grandfather is historically the first man to fire a riffleduring the Indian mutiny and miss his target. Mangal Pande whoaccording to this story is Samad’s great grand-father was involvedin the Indian rebellion. Samad’s great-grandfather worked for theBritish East India Company and later led a mutiny against the companywhich branded him traitor. According to the writer for Samad’s tofeel important he narrates his great-grandfather to those he meets.His definition of himself is principally based on his relation toMangal Pande his great-grandfather (Pp75). This his one claim to fameand clings to it with all might hoping that people will see him as animportant person and not just a waiter who waits on table. Thus, thegreat-grandfather plays the role of historically being a war hero andSamad’s cling to fame.

  1. Describe what happened to Clara to drive her away from her old life (family, religion, etc) and into Archie`s?

Lovegone sore is one of the reasons that drove Clara away from herreligion. She was in love with Ryan Topps who we are told wasantisocial and angry guy. However, he ended his relationship withClara after joining Jehovah Witness church and made his faith firm.Clara mother being a Jehovah witness strong believer had introducedher daughter to church at a tender age and as an adolescent Claramoved from door to door trying to convert people to Jehovah witness(Smith, 2001. Pp23). She fell in love with Ryan and becamerebellious, abandons her religion and becomes an Atheist. Her motherdisowns her after learning of this and wants nothing to do with her.This forces Clara to move from her home leaving behind her religionand her family to start a new life elsewhere.

  1. How did Samad view himself, and his place in life? What does he tell Archie early on in their friendship (and how do the two of them meet)?

Samadviewed himself as an important person who was not meant to be workingas a waiter. This is evidenced in the way he instructs his sign to bewritten that he is not a waiter but he has been a student, worked asa soldier and a scientist too. Moreover, he feels that Allah hasforsaken him that is why he is not doing too well in life.Furthermore, he fancies himself as being wiser and worldly than whatother people credit him.

Archieand Samad met in the army when the two served as British soldiers inthe Second World War. The two men are best friends and Samad tellsArchie that he was heartbroken when he looked at his boys and keptwondering how the two lads could live a straight life yet he as theirfather had lost his bearing (Pp102).

  1. Samad`s affair with Poppy-Burt-Jones certainly shows us something of his character, but what does it show us about the culture clash in England? (Hint: Shiva made his own judgment on the situation. What was it?)

Thesetells us that although the two groups are able to get well just finethat is the Indian and the English, Intimate relationship between anIndian man and an English man can never work. This is clearly put byShiva when he tries to encourage his friend Samad to go ahead andhave an affair with Poppy-Burt-Jones an English woman (122).According to Shiva history has proven that the two cannot date.

  1. What significance did the harvest festival have in the lives of the Iqbal family members?

Theharvest marked the beginning of Samads’ affair with Poppy-ButtJones (162). After the affair ended we see Samad making new plans forhis family that involves sending away his two sons so that they canturn out to be faithful Muslim unlike himself. He is unable to sendboth and believes that the son who is left behind will become anunfaithful Muslim who is good for nothing just like him.

  1. One small side story in the reading was the story of the children`s visit to Mr. Hamilton. What happened during this visit? Relate it to the various themes of the book.

Duringthe harvest festival week the three children Majid Millet and Iriewere were asked to take some food staff to Mr. Hamilton. However, theold man Mr. Hamilton thought that the kids were there to sell himsome staffs that he did not need and take away his money. To avoideating the food brought by the children Mr. Hamilton come up with astory after letting the children in that he could not eat the foodthey had brought because he had false teeth that could not eat hardfood. He narrated to the children how he had lost his teeth duringhis days as soldier and advised the children against eating staffthat could harm their teeth and the importance of taking care oftheir teeth (143). The theme of teeth is brought here Mr. Hamiltontalks about false teeth, we know that the them teeth is used to showunity in this story thus narrating about false teeth can be used tomean distrust.

  1. Why did Samad &quotkidnap&quot his son? What effects did this have on the Iqbal family?

Thereason why Majid was kidnapped by his own father he intended to sendhim back to India. Initially Samad intended to send both his son buthe lacked enough finance to do so. He believed sending them therewould help them become true Muslim faithful. Kidnapping Majid wasdone because the boy could not go out of his own free will. WhileSamad could not afford to send both boys he did not want both of themto follow his path (201). The effect of this action is none of hisson turned to be a faithful Muslim as intended Majid become morefocused on science and being an intellectual while as Millet become arebel and supported fundamentalist Islam.

  1. What was &quotthe trouble with Millat&quot? What was KEVIN?

Theauthor in page 181 states the reasons Millat’s father Samad thoughtwere the trouble with him. One of the reasons was the fact thatMillat was born second after his brother. And because he is thesecond son he was always late like a cheap postage, late like aslowcoach, late like a bus and late like a catch up kid that is whyhe lost the race against his brother in the birth canal. That now heis simply a follower of Magid by genetic predisposition and it wasAllah design that he lose the two minutes that he could never make upfor in his entire life and most of all in his fathers’ eyes. KEVINis used to mean Keepers of the Eternal and Victoria Islamic Nationits members were people who believed that they were pure Islamicmembers.

  1. Do you think all of these immigrants from countries that were once British colonies still have some anger or frustration against the British people? Does any character such as Samad, Alsana, or anyone else show this? How does colonization continue to play a role in their lives?

Thepersonality of Samad shows an individual who is frustrated by theBritish people due to his own short falls in failing to have selfcontrol thus blaming Poppy-Butt Jones for the adultery. According tohim If poppy wasn’t around he wouldn’t have had an affair andthus sent his son away to protect him from being like him. Anotherperson who shows frustration against the British is Alsana when herson is caught with marijuana and forced to spend time at Chalfensresidence. Moreover, Joyce Chalfen insults to Clara that she isstupid because she is black and poor makes her develop anger againstthe British. Colonization continues to play role in their lives inthe sense that they are prejudiced against because they are notBritish.

  1. What was Mrs. Chalfen trying to accomplish in her mentorship of Millat?

Chalfenwanted to start up a good relationship with Millat according to herdoing so would help Millat to become a good boy and be good friendswith his brother once he returned (103). The mentorship was startedwhen the three Irie, Millat and josh were caught smoking marijuana itwas believed that mentoring the adolescents would help them change.

  1. Is the clash between the three generations (Samad and Archie, Alsana and Clara, Irie and the twins) more of a culture clash or more of a generational clash?

Myopinion on this matter is that it is a generation clash as much as itis a cultural clash. Cultural clash in the sense that Samad affairwith Poppy-Butt Jones an English woman is what caused a bridgebetween father and son whereby the father in fear of his sons turningout to be like him planned to send them away to become Muslimfaithful. Generation clash is seen through the relation the childrenthat is Majid, Irie and Millat have with their parent. The two groupsdo not see eye to eye, the parents want to make decisions for theirchildren while as the children want to be left free to make their owndecisions.

  1. What different types of prejudice can you identify in the book? What does it arise from? Is it against individuals or groups?

Throughoutthe book there are cases of prejudice against Indian and also againstthe English. A good example is when Shiva shows prejudice whenencouraging Samad to have an affair with Poppy he is saysrelationship with English woman can’t work. Moreover, the Chalfenshows prejudice by saying That Irie owes her intelligence to herwhite heritage and that Indians are not intelligent. Clara is alsoprejudiced against by Mrs. Chalfen as being stupid because of thefact that she is an African. Clara mother Hortense is also racistbecause she gets annoyed with Clara for marrying a British (401).

  1. Interpret this quote &quotthey were more English now, more English than the English by virtue of their disappointments&quot (Page255). What do you think about the history of the children`s school?

Thisquote can be interpreted to mean that when the economy become bad theEnglish people started going for the job originally meant for theimmigrant from Jamaica thus making them go hungry and with no meansto their livelihood. The school being talked about here was startedby Edmund Flecker an English man who had played a role in shippingJamaican to England to find jobs. However, his good intention did notgo well when the tobacco industry closed down and money become scarceforcing the displacement of the Jamaican who thought they werebrought to England since there were not many English people to workbut now there were more than expected(255).

  1. What do Millat and Magid want out of life? How are they similar and how are they different?

Whatthe two brothers want in life are two contrasting things Majid wantto study the Future mouse this is his interest. His brother on theother hand, is interested in the activities of KEVIN a group ofMuslims who are against the project of Future mouse (146). Majid andMillat are similar in more than one way first they are twins, secondthey rebelled against their father, and third they both broke theirnoses when living apart. Their difference can be seen through theirlifestyles. One chooses to live like an intellectual while as theother chooses to live like Muslim.

  1. Who is Dr. Sick and what role does he play in the novel?

Dr.Sick is a Second World War doctor who reappears towards the end ofthe book during a conference held in London about the FutureMouse.The doctor real names are Marc-Pierre Perret, the children that hehid during the war are the one that nick named him DR. Sick. Samadordered Archie to kill him so that the two would become famous warheroes but Archie did not kill the doctor something that upset Samadvery much (540). Archie saves Dr. Sick life once again when Millatattempts to assassinate him at the conference.


Smith,Z. (2001). White teeth: A novel. New York: Vintage International.