Study Guide

White Teeth Chapter 18

By Zadie Smith

Chapter 18

The End of History Versus the Last Man

  • The founder of KEVIN, Brother Ibrahim ad-Din Shukrallah, is delivering a lecture to other KEVIN-ites on December 1, 1992. Sadly, he is a really terrible speaker. No, he's not quite as bad as Charlie Brown's teacher.
  • Mohammed Hussein-Ishmael, the butcher from the beginning of the novel, is at the talk as well. He converted to KEVIN because he is flattered that the group considers him successful enough as a businessman to ask him for money. He also converted to KEVIN because he has been the victim of violence and robbery several times per year for many years, and all his attackers have been white people. As a result, Mo is feeling pretty darn political.
  • Mo starts asking Millat about KEVIN's plans for political action against a scientist with whom Millat used to be friends. There are plans for something to take place on December 31, and the brothers are in planning mode.
  • Meanwhile, across town, Joshua is at a FATE meeting looking at Joely (he thinks she looks great) instead of listening to the conversation. He sits there watching every part of her body. Eek.
  • The problem is that Joely is married to Crispin, and they are completely in love. FATE, in some ways, rests on the connection between Joely and Crispin. The members believe in them. They fell in love in college, became vegans, and then dropped out to start FATE in 1985. Just like a classic fairytale, right?
  • When Josh reveals to FATE that he's the son of Marcus Chalfen, the group takes two days to decide whether or not he should remain a member. Josh says that he's on their side, and they welcome him back. We believe him, cuz he is working really, really hard to piss of his father at this point.
  • The members of FATE debate about what their goals are. They argue about whether the point is to release the FutureMouse or if the mouse is just a symbol.
  • At midnight on December 20, Ryan Topps calls Irie. He and Hortense are trying to warn Irie about the impending end of the world. They tell her that as Marcus's secretary she is the devil's secretary. Subtlety's not their strong suit.
  • Magid had been there for every stage of the FutureMouse, and he loved the lack of randomness, the predictability, of the mouse's whole life.
  • The FutureMouse represents certainty in its purest possible form, and that captivates Magid, even if it enrages others. Stay tuned for how well certainty plays out for our favorite families. (Okay, fine, you can like your own family moreā€¦)