by Zadie Smith
Character Role Analysis
Archie and Samad
Archie and Samad have a very unlikely friendship. They are pretty much opposites, which is, of course, why they have ended up in the "Foil" category. Isn't it great when things make sense?
Archie is a white Englishman. Samad is a Bengali immigrant. Archie is satisfied with the way things are most of the time, while Samad believes he is descended from heroes and deserves more out of life than a position as a waiter at his cousin's restaurant.
Archie loves his wife and his daughter the way they are—he's an accepting kind of guy. Samad criticizes his wife for most things she does. And he lies to relatives about what his children are doing because he's embarrassed by them.
Archie is constantly hoping that everyone will just get along, and Samad is picking fights and starting conflicts. Someone said opposites attract, right?