79 pages 2 hours read

Zadie Smith

White Teeth

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2000

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Part 4, Chapters 19-20

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 4: “Magid, Millat, and Marcus, 1992, 1999”

Chapter 19 Summary: “The Final Space”

On New Year’s Eve 1999, FATE’s members set out for the unveiling of FutureMouse. They discuss media responses to the exhibit, and Joely praises Joshua for prioritizing animal rights above family. Truthfully, Joshua simply has not thought through what he is about to do, which he realizes is “so huge, so colossal, that the consequences were inconceivable—he couldn’t imagine a moment occurring after that act” (412). Nevertheless, he feels he cannot turn back.

Several KEVIN brothers are on the way to the exhibit—including Millat, who has spent the entire day smoking marijuana. When Shiva remarks that he looks sick, Millat says that he is “preparing [himself] for action” and that he alone “stand[s] firm” (414). He is alluding to the leader of KEVIN’s arrest, after which the other members abandoned their initial violent plans and decided to simply recite a verse from the Qur’ān. When the KEVIN members arrive at the opening, the others go inside while Millat seeks a bench where Samad once carved his name. Samad is ashamed of this, seeing it as an act of pride, while Millat is disgusted by his father’s insignificance. He believes that his actions tonight will avenge historical wrongs and secure his own legacy.