White Teeth

Perceptions Of Cultural Purity in White Teeth

White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, provides complex characters whose psychology provides insight into the meaning of the novel. Samad Miah Iqbal is one character whose psychosis corresponds with the main theme. He chose to immigrate to England in order to provide a better foundation for his family, but is constantly faced with problems of integration. Samad is trying to stay rooted in Islamic religion while the country is swarming with different cultures. However, the Iqbals are unable to maintain their values in a country founded by colonialism and fused together with biracial families and friendships. This imbalance of ethnic identity leads Samad and his family to ultimately end up alienated and worse off than they started.

Samad is a character that is intent on maintaining his Islamic identity. His reasons for immigration are based on personal and historical ties to England. Samad came to Britain after fighting in World War II, and he feels a sense of moral responsibility due to his great grandfather’s role in the Indian Rebellion. Samad feels obligated to build a reputation of his own. On his way to earning the respect he deserves, he is accidentally shot in the hand by a comrade. This accident causes him to be deemed unworthy as...

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