Why is temptation more important to Samad than others in White Teeth?

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You might say temptation seems to be such an important factor to Samad in White Teeth due to his relationship with his Muslim faith. You might argue that his insecure connection to Allah makes him someone who’s especially liable to give into earthly temptations. However, if you review the other characters in White Teeth, it seems that they, too, face pressing temptations in the terrestrial world.

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You might say temptation is such an important factor to Samad because of his conflicting relationship with his religion. In all capitals, Samad states,


You might argue that his unsettled relationship with Allah exacerbates his tumultuous relationship with the earthly world. His stormy connection to the terrestrial universe seems to make his penchant to do something that could be considered wrong or injudicious (i.e., give into temptation) much more intense.

Perhaps if Samad had a better sense of who he is and how his religion informs his identity, he wouldn’t feel so threatened by temptation. Yet as Samad’s wish for wearing a placard indicates, Samad is not very confident about who he is or about how he’s fitting in with Western society.

With that being said, I think you could also say that temptation is an important factor in the other characters as well. You could argue that Clara’s religious upbringing tempts her into marrying Archie. Meanwhile, you could argue that Archie’s rather dull disposition tempts him to try to take his own life. You could also argue that Millat’s outsider status tempts him into committing violence. You could even claim that Marcus Chalfen’s mouse project is motivated by the temptation for both acclaim and advanced technology.

Again, while it wouldn’t be wrong to focus on how Samad is specifically subject to temptation, it might be a little misleading to present Samad as more vulnerable to temptation than the others. In White Teeth, most of the characters seem to be seriously grappling with temptation in one form or another.

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