White Teeth Essay

1107 words - 5 pages

There are many characters in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, but there are two main families. Clara, Archie, and Irie make up the Jones Family. Samad, Alsana, Millat, and Magid are the Iqbal family. The two families interact throughout the story, changing each other’s lives. Family is an important part of who a person is.
Archie has recently divorced his first wife, Ophelia, when he meets Clara. They had been married for thirty years but the relationship had never been a happy one. Clara too has a history. She has just left a serious relationship after her boyfriend converts to the Jehovah’s witnesses. Her own parents have not set a good example. Her dad does little besides sitting around on an ...view middle of the document...

Clara cannot help but nod in agreement. Samad and Alsana do not even seem to like each other. They have their fair share of fights. One which turns into a fist fight their children bet on, and another that ends with Alsana tearing off her clothes and walking out in just a coat. For a while Alsana even punishes Samad by not answering any question she is asked. Samad is far from a perfect husband. He has an affair with the pretty, young, music teacher at his children’s school, masturbates several times a day, and drinks regularly.
Children have the ability to bring families together. Although both families have children they do not bring anybody together. Clara and Archie have a daughter named Irie while Alsana and Samad have twin boys named Millat and Magid. Irie is raised in a family that is split racially and in a society where she is not accepted due to her blackness. She is told very little about her own family history and is not even told about her mother’s false upper teeth. Finding out about the teeth is the last straw for Irie and she runs away to her grandmother’s house to discover the truth. While there Irie does not get the answers she seeks but she does get more information than anybody else has ever shared with her before. Her grandmother tells her of Jamaica and Irie becomes fascinated with the country. Millat are raised very differently. They are constantly being reminded of their ancestor Pande, whom Samad is particularly proud of. They are told who they should be because of their heritage. Samad tries to control every aspect of their lives. When he hears them repeating his sayings, “to the pure all things are pure” and “can’t say fairer than that” Samad realizes they look at him as a role model and he tries to make up for his mistakes through them. He calls Magid smart and believes he will fulfill his destiny but calls Millat a good for nothing and gives up on him. Picking favorite, Samad goes so far as to send Magid to India in an...

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