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White Teeth | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • 1857

    Samad Iqbal's ancestor, Mangal Pande, starts the Indian Mutiny of 1857, and Pande is executed.

    Part 1, Chapter 5
  • 1907

    Ambrosia Bowden gives birth to Hortense Bowden during an earthquake in Kingston, Jamaica.

    Part 1, Chapter 2
  • Spring 1945

    Samad Iqbal and Archie Jones meet in the war; Archie has an encounter with Dr. Marc-Pierre Perret.

    Part 1, Chapter 5
  • Early 1975

    After a failed suicide attempt on New Year's Day, Archie Jones meets and soon marries Clara Bowden.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • 1975

    The Joneses and the Iqbals move to Willesden Green; both Clara and Alsana are pregnant.

    Part 1, Chapter 3
  • Later that year

    Clara Jones and Alsana Iqbal begin a tentative friendship.

    Part 1, Chapter 4
  • Fall 1984

    Samad Iqbal has an affair with his sons' music teacher, Poppy Burt-Jones.

    Part 2, Chapter 6
  • November 1984

    Samad Iqbal sends his son Magid to live in Bangladesh.

    Part 2, Chapter 8
  • January 1989

    Millat Iqbal protests with other Muslims against a controversial book.

    Part 2, Chapter 9
  • New Year's Eve 1989

    Samad Iqbal persuades Mickey to hang a portrait of Mangal Pande at O'Connell's.

    Part 2, Chapter 10
  • 1990

    Magid writes a letter home, saying he plans to become a lawyer.

    Part 3, Chapter 11
  • Around the same time

    Irie Jones and Millat Iqbal begin spending time with the Chalfens.

    Part 3, Chapter 12
  • 1991

    Magid Iqbal and Marcus Chalfen become pen pals; Millat Iqbal joins KEVIN.

    Part 3, Chapter 14
  • 1992

    While living with her grandmother Hortense, Irie Jones begins to discover her family history.

    Part 3, Chapter 15
  • 1992

    Magid Iqbal returns to England and becomes Marcus Chalfen's assistant on the FutureMouse project.

    Part 4, Chapter 16
  • Late 1992

    Millat and Magid Iqbal meet and argue; Irie Jones becomes pregnant after sleeping with them both.

    Part 4, Chapter 17
  • Later that year

    KEVIN, FATE, and the Jehovah's Witnesses each plan to sabotage the FutureMouse event.

    Part 4, Chapter 18
  • December 31, 1992

    At the FutureMouse event, Archie Jones takes a bullet Millat Iqbal fires at Dr. Marc-Pierre Perret.

    Part 4, Chapter 20
  • December 31, 1999

    Irie Jones, her daughter, and Hortense visit Jamaica; O'Connell's opens its doors to women.

    Part 4, Chapter 20

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 Part 1 is introduced with a quotation from 20th-century English writer E.M. Forster's 1905 novel Where Angels Fear to Tr... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 Clara Bowden came to England at age 16 with her mother, Hortense Bowden, a devout Jehovah's Witness. Hortense, born duri... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 The sole witnesses to Clara Bowden and Archie Jones's courthouse wedding, on February 14, 1975, are Samad Iqbal and hi... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Learning she is pregnant, Clara Jones asks the doctor what her child will look like. Clara tells her husband the doctor ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 Teenaged Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal meet in April 1945, near the end of World War II. Their five-man division, the "Bu... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 6 Part 2 opens with a quote from British politician Norman Tebbit that addresses the fundamental conflict in the life of S... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 7 In September 1984 Irie Jones (Clara and Archie's daughter) and the Iqbal twins, Millat and Magid, all 10 years old, take... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 8 For ten years Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal have met nightly at O'Connell's, a restaurant favored by old men where "histo... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 9 Worried that Magid is unsafe in the Chittagong Hills of disaster-prone Bangladesh, Alsana Iqbal discovers she has no rec... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 10 In O'Connell's Archie and Samad are the unchallenged authorities on the histories they tell and retell. The narrator giv... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 11 Part 3 opens with a quote from Russian American novelist Vladmir Nabokov, which invokes the intricate web of causality t... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 12 Joyce Chalfen, Joshua's mother, is a gardener, writer, and self-proclaimed liberal feminist. Her husband, Marcus, is a s... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 13 Clara Jones's mother, Hortense Bowden, is the daughter of an Englishman stationed in Jamaica, Captain Charlie Durham, an... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 14 Magid Iqbal and Marcus Chalfen become pen pals in March 1991. As Marcus's secretary, Irie secretly reads their correspon... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 15 Although Hortense Bowden hasn't seen Irie Jones in six years, she knew Irie would return. Ryan Topps, now a church leade... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 16 Part 4 opens with the dictionary definitions for fundamental and Fundamentalism, as well as a related quote from a 1931 ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 17 Alsana Iqbal reluctantly speaks to Joyce Chalfen. She blames the Chalfens for the split between the twins: Millat and KE... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 18 KEVIN's founder, Brother Ibrahim ad-Din Shukrullah, speaks on "Ideological Warfare." Shukrullah denounces Marcus Chalfen... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 19 It is December 31, 1992. Joshua Chalfen still hasn't given any thought to what is about to happen at the FutureMouse exh... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 20 Toward the end of the FutureMouse event, Marcus Chalfen introduces his mentor, Dr. Marc-Pierre Perret. Archie and Samad ... Read More
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