Identity is the theme that just won't quit in White Teeth. The novel explores issues of identity through characters' ethnicities, the way they speak, their socioeconomic class, and more. Seriously, identity is everywhere in this book. And our favorite characters' identities are never simple, clear-cut, one-note, or easy-to-understand. For instance, Magid comes back from Bangladesh an atheist, and Millat joins a very strict Islamic organization in London—which is exactly the opposite of what we'd expect.
Samad Iqbal wants his sons to take on the traditional identities he imagines for him, and they disappoint him deeply when they fail to do that. Samad doesn't realize that his sons are English—almost indistinguishable from the other kids in their school or their city.
In a lot of ways, Archie Jones is the least interesting character when it comes to identity. But Archie's lack of an identity crisis (we went there) provides a necessary counterpoint to what the rest of the Joneses and the Iqbals go through.