What motivations and beliefs put characters in conflict leading up to the FutureMouse convention in White Teeth?

Quick answer:

In White Teeth, Marcus and Magid want the FutureMouse press conference to be a hit. They worked hard on this controversial project. Millat and Joshua want to disrupt the FutureMouse event. Millat believes it's irreligious. Joshua thinks it’s too harmful to animals. Each of these males bear some relation to Irie. She’s having either Millat’s or Magid’s baby, which she’ll end up raising with Joshua.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As your question already acknowledges, the FutureMouse press conference seems to serve as something of a colliding point for the various characters in the novel. I’ll try and explain to you how each character’s beliefs and motivations put them where they are in the lead up to the big event.

Marcus Chalfen is the main scientist involved in the FutureMouse project. He’s something of a rowdy, cocky, and lewd man. The project is very important to him. He wants the unveiling to go nice and smoothly.

Another character who benefits from a successful FutureMouse press conference is Magid Iqbal. Magid Iqbal and Millat Iqbal are twins. Magid is older by 120 seconds. Magid has been Marcus’s assistant.

Millat, on the other hand, does not want the FutureMouse presser to be a hit. Millat is not dedicated to science like his brother. Millat is something of a troublemaker. He uses drugs and goes out with lots of girls. He also isn’t too comfortable in English society and is a member of KEVIN (Keepers of the Eternal and Victorious Islamic Nation). KEVIN believes the FutureMouse project is an affront to God. Humans should not try to exercise so much power over a living being.

KEVIN shows up at the event to protest. Millat himself shows up with a gun. He might shoot someone.

Marcus’s own son, Joshua, doesn’t like the project either. Joshua is a member of FATE (Fighting Animal Torture and Exploitation). FATE plans a fake hostage scene that will hopefully compel Joshua’s dad to surrender the abused mouse.

Archie Jones, too, is at the event. Although, if you’ve read the entire book, you’ll probably understand why Archie wished he would have skipped the press conference. Archie is friends with the father of Millat and Magid. Archie’s rather resigned life takes a dramatic turn at the presser.

Then there’s Irie Jones. Irie has many insecurities and has some kind of relationship with all of the males that converge on the unveiling. Archie is her dad. Marcus told her to be a dentist. She becomes pregnant with either Millat’s or Magid’s baby. She ends up raising that baby with Joshua.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial