Analysis of ”The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga
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In the novel, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Adiga illustrates the conditions of the working class in India through Balram Halwai, the protagonist. Also he points out the social inequality of the society of India through the rich and poor. Balram is a perfect example of a life story from rags to riches. However his journey to riches was not entirely ethical since he had to kill his master, Ashok. Adiga implies that nobody is motivated to stay ethical in a corrupt society. Being ethical will only cause one to remain poor for a long period of time. Everyone wants to be rich in any way possible. In addition, this story is related to the real life society of many countries today living in poverty.
Balram’s story is depicted through seven letters he writes to the head of the Chinese council. He begins his story from the deepest depths of poverty. He starts off working manual labor in a teashop scrubbing floors and picking up after customers’ mess, to becoming a driver for a wealthy family. One day, Balram begins to realize in order to make it in this society you need to start from the bottom. He describes a syndrome called the Rooster Coup Syndrome, in which the poor never attempt to escape and rebel even though being completely aware of all the illegal activities that their masters take part in daily. They are afraid of the possible consequences of rebelling. Adiga is constantly reminding the readers of the corruption in India through the many illegitimate actions that the wealthy participate in.
Adiga seemed to balance everything out when Balram slits Mr. Ashoks’ throat and takes off with a lump sum of money. This event was the turning point in the story. Adiga is indicating that if the wealthy are continually participating in many non-righteous activities, we cannot expect the poor to just sit back and watch. Balram murdering Ashok is a perfect example of the poor rebelling against the rich. He used the money to open his own taxi company that serve hundred thousands of people at night. Now he is a master for the people that work for his company. The white tiger is a rare breed of tiger that only comes along once in every generation. Balram is the white tiger because he did not follow in the footsteps of the generations of servants in his family line. He had to become a killer and thief in order to make his way to where he is. Also he realizes that he must continue to keep bribing and using his money in order to relinquish himself from sticky situations. Had Balram not murdered Ashok and remained honest, he would still be trapped inside the rooster coup.
In the story, Balram talks about the gigantic amount of people who live in poverty in India and must make their living as servants for the rich. Also he talks about how everything in the economy of India linked to outsourcing. People in India would be doing all sorts of work for Americans over the phone. Adiga successfully relates the economy of India to many other countries throughout the world. As of today, many people in India are working for outsourcing companies by talking on the phone and making transactions for other countries throughout the world. Although working for outsourcing companies is a better way of making a living than working as servants and doing manual labor. In the novel, Balram talks about how the timetables for India and America are totally reversed. People in Bangalore take on the lifestyle of animals. They sleep only a few hours during the day and work from the evening until the late hours of the morning.
Through the book, Adiga talks a great deal about poverty. He talks about inner-city poverty and the people who live in it. Also he goes over the poor conditions of the city, in which the there is no running water and no electricity with the huge rate of slums. For example, Adiga illustrates when Balram went through a slum where people are living in poor quality tents and are still on the job building places for the wealthy. This is an extremely ordinary example for many countries today. Even though the poor are living in such bad conditions, they are still taking jobs like construction to boost their cities physically while knowing it is not helping dig themselves out of poverty.
Throughout the story, Balram talks about social inequality which is present through the division between the poor and the rich. Also he explains the way the wealthy treat and look at the poor. Adiga is trying to present the lack of importance and rights the poor has in the society of India. Balram states that there was only one master that treated him well. This brings into light the lack of control concerning human rights in many countries, where humans have no value if not rich. Furthermore it is stressed in the book when a child was run over by Ashok’s wife and the child is just left dead on the side of the street.
The White Tiger is a well written example of the lifestyle for many in India. The life of poverty presented in the novel is existing in real life for many countries today. Adiga carefully inspects the realities of the urban lifestyle in the many different cities of India. The main character, Balram, is a good example of what everyone else in the rooster coup is afraid to do. When Balram murdered Ashok, it symbolized a bit of equality for the poor. People do not have an incentive to remain ethical in a corrupt society because the whole society is built around lies, bribery, and crimes. There would be no chance for the poor to make it unless they also used bribery and corruption to their advantage. Balram gained knowledge of the society and when an opportunity presented itself to him he took it disregarding whether it was right or wrong. He knew that was his only chance at wealth.
Adiga, Aravind. _The White Tiger_. New York: Free Press, 2008. Print.