The White Tiger

The Use of Imagery to Portray the Flaws in India’s Social and Political Conditions in The White Tiger, a Novel by Aravind Adiga

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

A White Tiger in the Rooster Coop

Aravind Adiga uses animal imagery in The White Tiger to illustrate flaws in the social and political conditions of India. The title itself, and later Balram’s taxi company, is the first example we see of animal imagery. He further compares the social system of India to a jungle, zoo, and rooster coop, as well as various other references to animals throughout the novel. Through the use of animal imagery, Adiga is able to show the flaws of the social and political systems in India.

In The White Tiger, Adiga first uses animal imagery in his descriptions of the four landlords who oppressed his village, named The Stork, The Buffalo, The Raven, and The Wild Boar. He also references other characters with animal names, such as The Mongoose and country mouse. By comparing various characters to animals, Adiga begins to draw the connection between how animals live, and the way people in India live. He again makes this connection when describing the day that the British left India, saying “And then, thanks to all those politicians in Delhi, on the fifteenth of August, 1947 the day the British left- the cages had been let open; and the animals had attacked and ripped each other apart and jungle law replaced zoo law. Those that were the most ferocious, the hungriest, had eaten everyone else up, and grown big bellies” (Adiga 54). By saying that the cages had been opened, it seems like the people of India were animals, that had been imprisoned by the British. He describes the ensuing chaos as if the people were animals, ripping each other apart, in order to gain power. The animal imagery further portrays this chaos as ‘jungle law’ compared to the ‘zoo law’ which had previously been in place. While the British controlled India, the people were like animals in a zoo, but were like animals in a jungle now that the British left. This idea is developed further to describe the lower classes in India, or those in the Darkness, showing that they are like animals in a zoo, dependent on those of the upper class for their survival and acting as if they are stuck in cages.

Animal imagery is again used by Aravind Adiga to describe Balram, his fainting in the zoo, and India as a jungle. When a government official visits Balram’s school in his youth, he proclaimed that Balram was a ‘White Tiger’, saying “You, young man, are an intelligent, honest, vivacious fellow in this crowd of thugs and idiots. In any jungle, what is the rarest of animals- the creature that comes along only once in a generation? ‘The White Tiger’ That’s what you are, in this jungle” (Adiga 30). The man describes Balram as a white tiger in a jungle, again referring to Indian society as a jungle, and to its people as animals. It is also ironic that this government official appears to support the advancement and individuality of Balram, yet the government would prefer that his class remain in the Darkness and not actually advance in society or leave his caste. Balram later visits the National Zoo in New Delhi with Dharam, where they see many animals including a tiger. He describes the tiger, saying “The creature that gets born only once every generation in the jungle…He was hypnotizing himself by walking like this- that was the only way he could tolerate this cage. Then the thing behind the bamboo bars stopped moving. It turned its face to my face. The tiger’s eyes met my eyes, like my master’s eyes have met mine so often in the mirror of the car” (Adiga 237). Adiga first reiterates that a white tiger only comes along once every generation in the jungle that is India. He implies that Indian people of the lower castes must hypnotize themselves into believing that their conditions are acceptable, as the tiger must do in his cage to deal with his situation. Adiga also compares the look that Balram shares with the tiger to the look Balram has shared with Mr. Ashok, as if Balram is the caged tiger in his master’s eyes.

Adiga uses animal imagery to further represent the living conditions of people in India, how Balram starts his own business, and what he calls society, the ‘Rooster Coop’. Balram moves to Bangalore with Dharam, and describes the living conditions of the people there, saying “Let me explain, Your Excellency. See, men and women in Bangalore live like the animals in a forest do. Sleep in the day and then work all night, until two, three, four, five o’clock, depending, because their masters are on the other side of the world, in America” (Adiga 255). Once again, Adiga uses animal imagery to portray the working people of Bangalore. They work all night and sleep all day like animals in a forest, simply because their masters are on different schedules than them, as they are in the United States. As is a common idea in the novel, the lives of the lower class workers are determined by when it is convenient for their masters. Due to this, they are condemned to live as animals, working at all hours of the night. Balram also questions why his father, and other fathers in India continue to raise their children into the horrible caste system, asking “Why had my father never taught me to brush my teeth in milky foam? Why had he raised me to live like an animal? Why do all the poor live amid such filth, such ugliness?” (Adiga 128). By saying he was raised like an animal, he is using this imagery to describe the poverty which he and others grew up in, captivated in this endless system like caged animals. Their very captivity in their respective caste is given name by Balram, calling it the ‘Rooster Coop’. This is the idea that members of Indian society never seek to leave their caste, and accept that this is the social class they will belong to their entire life. In this Rooster Coop, Balram is trapped in his caste, kept in check by others in the Darkness if he ever tries to elevate in society. He explains the Rooster Coop by saying, “On the wooden desk above this coop sits a grinning you butcher, showing off the flesh and organs of a recently chopped-up chicken…The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above. They see the organs of their brothers lying around them. They know they’re next. Yet they do not rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop. The very same thing is done with human beings in this country” (Adiga 147). Adiga intentionally uses this animal imagery to portray the people of Indian society as caged animals who are not even looking for freedom. They know that they are controlled by the upper class, and know that they are treated like animals, yet do nothing about it. By capturing their conditions with animal imagery, Adiga is able to emphasize the impoverished conditions which they live in and accept as their permanent positions. He reiterates this idea, exclaiming to Mr. Jiabao, “A handful of men in this country have trained the remaining 99.9 percent to exist in perpetual servitude” (Adiga 149). Those in power in India managed to make the rest of the population believe they were stuck in their social positions, and there was no use trying to escape it. Finally, Adiga uses animal imagery in naming Balram’s taxi business, naming it White Tiger Drivers. This represents Balram’s transformation from the Darkness, into the Light, setting himself apart from the rest of the animals, just like a White Tiger does. Balram describes the way he runs his business, saying “Once I was a driver to a master, but now I am a master of drivers. I don’t treat them like servants…I leave the choice up to them. When the work is done I kick them out of the office: no chitchat, no cups of coffee. A White Tiger keeps no friends. It’s too dangerous” (Adiga 259). Adiga here uses animal imagery to portray Balram’s successful transformation from an animal in the Rooster Coop, to a successful White Tiger.

In The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga uses animal imagery to portray the social and political flaws of India through the voice of Balram. Through his comparisons to zoos, forests, jungles, and rooster coops, Adiga is able to illustrate the conditions that Indian people live in every day. Balram begins his journey as an animal in the Rooster Coop, but manages to become a successful entrepreneur free of influence from the rich and powerful.

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The Effects of Globalization on Indian Culture in the Novel, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

The spread of globalisation and its influence has opened many doors and has, to a large extent, impacted on the cultures and traditions of many countries in the globalising world. Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger showcases some of the most important aspects of the effects of globalisation on Indian culture, such as the disenfranchising of traditional structures such as marriage, family life and social mobility and the caste system. Globalisation is also linked with cultural corruption and Americanisation and westernisation, and has made social, ethical and personal boundaries more fluid and mobile. Balram’s motivations can be seen as prime examples of the changes occurring in India due to globalisation and his actions also reflect the changing cultural values and attitudes in globalising India.

The breakdown of traditional social structures such as marriage, family life, social mobility (or the lack thereof) and the caste system is a result of the vulnerability of tradition and culture to the changes brought about by globalisation. The spread of ideas, information and technology due to globalisation has impacted severely on the traditional ways of life in The White Tiger, and not only on Balram himself, but others around him. Balram’s master Ashok’s marriage to Pinky Madam is a break in the traditional ways of marriage as she is not from his caste and Pinky’s background as an American also threatens old cultural roles and ways of thinking. Ashok’s education in America and his return to India also upsets traditional methods and social roles within Indian society, such as his insistence on treating the servants better, which is derided by both his brother and father. The colonisation of India by the British also leaves the Indian caste system in a state of disarray; Balram illustrates this by saying that there are now only those with ‘big bellies’ and ‘small bellies’, illustrating the divide between rich and poor that colonisation and the spread of globalisation has left behind. The position of Balram’s family in the traditional narrative is also threatened; Balram chooses to leave them behind in order to pursue a new future in the rapidly globalising and modernising world. Globalisation has, to a large extent, impacted on the cultures and traditions of India in The White Tiger, resulting in the breakdown of many traditional structures and systems.

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The Corruption of the Law Enforcement in Aravind Adiga’s Novel The White Tiger

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

“The corruption in reporting starts very early. It’s like the police reporting on the police (Julian Assange).” In Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, there is an abundance of corruption throughout India in the police department and law enforcement. Because of the corruption all over India, law enforcement has transformed into a system of bribed police officers that disregard the law for their own personal benefits instead of doing their job correctly and aiding the community.

Law enforcement throughout India has been corrupt for many years and is becoming more of an accepted way of life. It is becoming more of an exception rather than a rule. In The White Tiger, Mr. Ashok put the blame of the murder Pinky Madam committed onto Balram, a loyal servant of the wealthy family. Ashok instructs his lawyer to bribe the possible judge for the case. Despite Balram’s essentially calm exterior, he was thinking “The judges? Wouldn’t they see through this obviously forced confession? But they are in the racket too. They take their bribe, they ignore the discrepancies in the case. And life goes on (Adiga 145).” However, he said, not once did he think about telling the judge the truth about what had really happened. Balram briefly describes how corrupt the Indian law enforcement is and how if you were wealthy, they would accomplish anything they were inquired. Consequently, David H. Bayley concluded, “In sum, the Indian public not only believes that there is a good deal of corruption in the police . . . but about one out of five has seen it and a similar proportion has taken the lesson to heart and would take money with them in their dealings with the police in order to secure action (286-288).” A teeming amount of people have experienced corruption first hand in India and do not have trust in the police today. In fact, ‘the real problem is not the system, the real problem is that the people are corrupt (Quah).’

To break free of the “darkness” Balram must escape to the “light” to prepare himself for a better life that lies ahead. When he becomes the great entrepreneur he always dreamed of, Balram starts off running with his new White Tiger Drivers Company by paying off the assistant commissioner of the police department. Giving the assistant commissioner a small offering for his gratitude, ‘He counted the money—ten thousand rupees—heard what [Balram] wanted, and asked for double. [Balram] gave him a bit more, and he was happy (Adiga 256).’ This shows that most of the police in India will yield a bribe knowing there is a high chance that they will not get caught. According to P.C. Alexander, “ as the probability of detecting and punishing corrupt [police] behavior is not high in India, the public perceives corruption as a low risk, high reward activity as those involved in corrupt practices are unlikely to be detected and punished.” Even though there is a low risk, high reward most police officers believe taking bribes is above them since they mandate the law. It is because of the corrupt law enforcement that corruption is slowly getting worse in India. In fact, it is the people that are corrupt. These police officers will do almost anything to get more money and if that means breaking the law, then they will do it. “On the other hand, corruption is a fact of life in a country when cases of corruption are the exception rather that the rule (Pope).” It is because of corruption that people like Balram have a chance to get out of the “darkness” and escape into the “light”.

Throughout The White Tiger, Adiga expresses how corruption plays a part in the every day lives of India’s people. Balram takes advantage of the opportunities put in front of him and becomes part of the system and raises his social mobility. As Balram transitions into Ashok Sharma, he comes face to face with the police department to accomplish his objective; to gain his White Tiger Drivers Company a job. To do so, he bribes the police assistant commissioner, which helps him in the long run with some issues. When one of Ashok’s drivers had hit and killed a person’s brother with his Qualis, the brother insisted on filing a claim to the police. Ashok Sharma takes responsibility for the accident because ‘the assistant commissioner who sat in the station was a man whom I had lubricated often . . . He was the worst kind of man, who had nothing in his mind but taking money from everyone who came into his office. Scum. But he was my scum (Adiga 264).’ Because of the corruption throughout the police department, he was able to help himself and his company from failing. Ashok’s personal achievement was increasing his social mobility due to the corruption in India, and he would not have been able to accomplish his goal without it.

Corruption has become a way of life for most Indians, they accept it and move on. It has evolved into an exception rather than a rule in Indian society. There is becoming less trust in the Indian police to do what is right, because about one in five people have experienced the corrupt police department first hand. Instead of doing the moral thing, police officers in India have chosen to disregard the law for their own personal benefits to take in more money.

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Novel Review: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

Believing in yourself

Often times we are told we can’t do something, we aren’t good enough or simply that we won’t succeed but that isn’t always accurate. In the novel The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Balram is an average guy growing up in India. He gives up education to work for his family in order to support them. in India, the poor and the rich are set far apart which makes it easy to tell the difference between the two. People always told him he would never make it to the rich part, though he always told himself he would. The novel is written in the form of a letter from the perspective of the main character Balram to the Premier of China. In the letter, Balram talks about succeeding and fighting through obstacles in his life.

In India, children are generally expected to either not attend school or drop out to work and provide for the family. Balram worked in a tea shop and he eventually became a family driver. In the end of the novel, he succeeds in creating a wealthy taxi company.In the novel, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, Balram goes on his journey from poverty to richness. Balram comes from a small village in India called Laxmangarh. Everyone seemed to love him because he was different from others. He was forced to drop out of school by his family to help pay back debt. He worked for a family as a driver but he was the second driver. Balram did anything to succeed and he eventually got the first driver fired so he could be moved into first place. Balram makes many unwise decisions and took many risks such as stealing money and committing crimes.

Although he made many unwise decisions throughout his life and dropped out of school, he succeeded in the end making a wealthy taxi service whilst making large profits. The novel really set the lower and upper class apart and Balram never thought he would even be close to the upper. With work, he quickly realized anyone can defeat hardships and accomplish what they want. A significant scene in the novel was whenever the author talked about light it would represent wealth and whenever he talked about darkness it would represent poverty.

In the novel there are many characters, Balram is the main character as well as the narrator, throughout the story he gets the want to become a businessman, he comes off as a smart guy considering he was a dropout. Mr. Ashok is essentially Balram’s boss he provides him with the job of being a driver, shows him more of the English language, and gets more engaged with the Indian government throughout the story. Pinky Madame is Mr. Ashok’s significant other, she doesn’t care about India, she frequently asks when Mr. Ashok when they will move to the United States. The Stork is Mr. Ashok’s dad he is well off in life, a very successful and enjoys talking about legislative issues. Vijay is the saint of Balram’s youth. He starts off from a group of farmers yet he works his way to being the best. He escape’s destitution and perseveres relentlessly until the point when he turns into a successful man. Balram aspires to be just like him.

The rooster coop, is a reoccurring analogy the novel. A chicken coop is portrayed as an encased region for hens and chickens where they are altogether pressed in together so firmly that there is scarcely any space to move. In spite of the poor living conditions, the chickens are not endeavoring to escape which is the reason the creator looks at them to the poor class in India. Balram Halwai’s adventure as he conquers many things to make his progress is very significant and is frequently stressed throughout the novel. Aravind demonstraes that one can’t achieve genuine progress without defeating trouble. The rich always get the best things in life, and all that we get is the leftovers(198).

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The Concept of Hofstede Cultural Dimensions Theory in The White Tiger, a Novel by Aravind Adiga

November 3, 2020 by Essay Writer

The Hofstede dimensions which differ the most between the United States and India are power distance, individualism, long-term orientation, and indulgence. Power distance is the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. The United States scored a 40 in the power distance dimension, while India scored a 70. A score of 70 indicates an appreciation for hierarchy, which is exemplified in Indian society. India’s society is a hierarchical caste system which designates a specific niche in society which you are born into. For a society such as this to function, an ability to ‘accept that power is distributed unequally’ must exist, or individuals would not remain trapped in their individual caste. Further, as the power dimension explains, they have acceptance of unequal rights between the power-privileged and those who are lower in society. Indian society has a top-down structure where an employee always has a supervisor, and is always being monitored. In The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, the narrator, Balram, is applying for a job as a driver for a man named Mr. Ashok. He asks Balram, “’What’s your last name again?’ ‘Halwai’ ‘Halwai…what caste is that, top or bottom?’” (Adiga 53). This again shows the unequal distribution of power in India, causing their high score in the power distance dimension.

Individualism is referred to as the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. The United States scores a 91 in this dimension, while India only scores a 48. India has a lack of Individualism, which is replaced by collectivism. This mindset makes individuals in India more likely to share ideas or be open to working in groups. In The White Tiger, Balram explains to us how he got his name. He at first took the name “Munna”, or boy, since everyone was too busy to name him. At last he was named by his first teacher, saying “Munna? That’s not a real name…It’ll be Balram” (Adiga 10). This clearly shows the lack of individualism in India, as something so seemingly important as a name could go unattended for so long. Collectivism overpowers individualism in India, resulting in their lower-than-average score in the individualism dimension of 48.

The long-term orientation dimension is another that India scores higher on, 51, than the United States, 26. This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future. India’s high score suggests a lack of punctuality when working with individuals, as well as their tolerance for other religious views. Further, these societies tend to react well to changing on the go, and they do not need an exact plan. When working in Indian society, one might note if deadlines are strict or not, or be open to changing plans frequently when new ideas come to light.

The indulgence dimension refers to the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses. India’s low score of 26 in this dimension, suggests that they have restraint as a society. Actions are restrained by social norms, especially compared to Americans. The United States scored a 68 in this dimension, suggesting we have a tendency for indulgence.

Of Hofstede’s dimensions, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, and long term orientation would be the most difficult for me to deal with, when adjusting to Indian society. The masculinity and long-term orientation dimensions specifically would be difficult to deal with when working with others. The dimension of masculinity is defined as the desire to be the best, opposed to liking what you do. I prefer to have a competitive working environment. I find that this helps to motivate me and increase me performance. If I were to be working inside the Indian culture, I would struggle to work outside of my preferred environment, a competitive one. While I think it is a good thing to like what you do, I am more motivated by others in a competitive environment Long term orientation is how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future. One trait of high scorers in long term orientation is lack of punctuality. On the other hand, I prefer set deadlines, and detailed instructions of what is expected of me. It might be difficult for me to adjust to a work environment in which these things were not important. In preparation, I could try to be more lenient with my deadlines and take on more flexible planning strategies.

The individualism and uncertainty avoidance dimensions would further cause conflict in my integration into Indian work culture. Individualism is defined as the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. In my ideal work environment, I would have some degree of independence, being able to work at my own pace and meet deadlines on my own. In a culture which is more collective than individualist, work is often collaborated on and supervision is close, which may be difficult to work with. Before moving into the Indian culture, I could attend classes in groups to improve my socialization with others in the workplace and my ability to work as a team. The uncertainty avoidance dimension is the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these. India’s score, a 40, indicates that most of society is willing to make changes to plans on the fly, and differ from plans. It also indicates a lack of emphasis on perfection, with a willingness to accept imperfections. I would need to adjust to work with this society, as I am more of a perfectionist, and plan to stick to a designated plan. To work on this, I could attend improvisation classes in preparation to enhance my ability to think quickly and react accordingly.

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The complex use of symbolism within Adiga’s social critique, ‘The White Tiger’

August 21, 2019 by Essay Writer

In his novel ‘The White Tiger’, Avarind Adiga explores the corruption and extreme poverty that plague modern India. Through an allegorical depiction of the enormous divide between rich and poor, Adiga condemns the oppression and hopelessness endured by the lower classes. Furthermore, illustrating the multitude of obstacles to the empowerment of the poor, Adiga suggests that the emergence of class consciousness is of greatest importance in allowing individuals to escape the ‘Rooster Coop’. Adiga presents Balram’s entrepreneurial journey as evidence of the capacity for members of the lower classes to ultimately craft their own identity, symbolically emphasising his success in earning himself a place in the Light.

Through a symbolic representation of the hardships endured by India’s poor and the exploitative behaviour of the upper classes, Adiga condemns the social structure of New India, which facilitates such pervasive inequality. In the early pages of his epistolary novel, Adiga includes an evocative description of the funeral of Balram’s mother, whose corpse is burned and abandoned to the “black mud” of the Ganga River. Adiga establishes the repugnant river as a symbol of the hopelessness endured by those in the Darkness, suggesting that although Balram’s mother’s body was “trying to fight the black mud”, it was “sucking her in” and she would inevitably become “part of the black mound”. Balram expresses his realisation that this struggle is emblematic of not only his mother’s life, but the adversity faced by all inhabitants of the Darkness, who despite their efforts, would never be “liberated”. Symbolism is also used by Adiga to depict the ‘two countries’ within India. Adiga conveys that the ‘Light’ encompasses the wealthy coastal regions and the ‘Darkness’ incorporates the impoverished rural regions of India, such as Balram’s village of Laxmangarh. Through this portrayal of the completely contrasting halves of India, Adiga emphasises the dichotomy between the rich and the poor which largely eliminates any possibility of social mobility. Adiga furthers his critique of India’s social system through the figurative description of the upper classes as “Men with Big Bellies” and the poor as “Men with Small Bellies”, creating an association between the incredible wealth of the upper classes and their greed and “Big Bellies”. Adiga elucidates that the elite of Indian society gained their position by “eat[ing] everyone else up”, underscoring the ferocity of the ‘food-chain’ of India’s social system. This concept is also developed through Adiga’s use of an animal allegory to represent the four landlords of Laxmangarh. Adiga conveys that the Buffalo, Stork, Wild Boar and Raven “fed on the village and everything that grew in it”, until the villagers were unjustly left with “nothing … to feed on” themselves. Furthermore, Adiga highlights the hardships suffered by those in the Darkness on an individual level through the contrast made by Balram between a rich man’s body and that of a poor man. While a rich man’s physique is “white and soft and blank”, a poor man’s frame is recognisable by its many “nicks and scars” and the clavicle which curves around his neck “like a dog’s collar.” Adiga conveys that the “story of a poor man’s life” is represented on his body, which serves as tangible evidence of his suffering and poverty. Using allegorical elements to emphasise the suffering of India’s lower classes, Adiga denounces the class system which forces the majority of the population to remain downtrodden their entire lives.

In ‘The White Tiger’, Adiga also utilises symbolism to emphasise the necessity of individuals attaining class consciousness in order to escape their poverty and oppression. As Balram begins resenting his master for exploiting him, such as through forcing him to take responsibility for “a killing [he] had not done”, Adiga illustrates that he gains an awareness of the wider injustices faced by the lower class. The Stork’s visit to a private hospital in a “big beautiful glass building”, is contrasted in Balram’s mind with Vikram’s pitiable death in a decrepit village hospital, symbolic of his complete powerlessness. Through the disparity between these two episodes, Adiga further develops the dualities of the novel, exemplifying the inequality between the ‘two castes’ of India and providing justification for Balram’s anger towards the upper classes. Balram’s emerging resentment towards India’s elite is also illustrated by Adiga through Balram’s representation of Delhi as a living, sentient being. Balram imagines that Delhi agrees to “speak to [him] of civil war” and of “blood on the streets” and promises that the corrupt Minister’s assistant “with the fat folds under his neck” will be the first to die in the bloodshed. Adiga conveys that Balram begins to perceive support for his cause everywhere in Delhi, as “dense pollution” informs him his crime will be well-hidden and a guard “puts down his gun” in an action that tells Balram “[he’d] do the same, if [he] could.” The symbolic expression of Balram’s desire for a class uprising is included by Adiga in order to demonstrate that Balram’s later violent actions stem not only from self-interest, but the yearning for the revolution of India’s social system, dominated by the rich capitalists of the upper classes, such as the Minister’s assistant. Adiga further highlights Balram’s resentment of his masters through his spitting “over the seats of the Honda City”. Just as he spits at Laxmangarh in the first chapter, vowing never again to return, Balram illustrates his complete rejection of Ashok and the elite class he represents through this “disgusting” action. Adiga further emphasises the vital role of Balram’s class consciousness in his escape from the Rooster Coop, through the method of his final climactic murder of Ashok. Adiga establishes “Johnnie Walker Black” whiskey as a symbol of the prestige of the upper classes, describing it as too expensive to ever be bought by those in the Darkness, who are mere “Indian liquor men”. Thus Balram’s decision to fashion the empty bottle from Ashok’s car into a murder weapon, with “long and cruel and clawlike jags” of glass, is representative of his rage towards Ashok’s privilege and decision to use his own prestige against him. Depicting Balram’s escape from the ‘Rooster Coop’, Adiga provides a metaphorical representation of his emerging awareness of the unjust class stratification of Indian society.

Following Balram’s metamorphosis from poor villager to successful businessman of the Light, Adiga uses symbolic elements to underscore the capacity for individuals to forge their own identity. Even in his first letter to Wen Jiabao, Balram expresses pride in his office space, which is “the only 150-square-foot space in Bangalore with its own chandelier!” While it literally “fling[s] light across the room”, the chandelier also serves as a figurative representation of Balram’s place in the Light of India, stemming from his newfound wealth and social position. Balram’s later explanation that the light of the chandelier keeps “the lizards away”, is included by Adiga to emphasise that Balram represses his former identity as an Indian villager, represented by the ‘lizards’ that terrified him as a boy. Adiga also establishes a complex duality between Ashok and Balram throughout the novel, represented in the rear view mirror of the Honda City, in which the men’s “eyes meet so often” and serves as a conduit for confrontation between master and servant. Through his observation of Ashok in the mirror, Balram finds justification for his eventual murder of his master in Ashok’s philandering and corrupt behaviour, but also learns how to behave as an authentic member of India’s elite, noticing details such as the “empty and white” t-shirts Ashok wears. This ultimately assists him in crafting his new identity. Significantly, Adiga presents Balram’s visit to the National Zoo as the catalyst for his murder of Ashok. Standing in front of the “creature … born only once every generation”, Balram’s “eyes met” the white tiger’s eyes, in the same way his “master’s eyes [had] met [his] so often in the mirror of the car.” Through this encounter, Adiga conveys that just as Balram gradually appropriates the identity of his master, he is able to fully assume his identity as ‘The White Tiger’ in order to commit the act of brutality that propels him into the Light. Adiga provides final evidence of Balram’s success in the creation of his new persona as a successful businessman, through the name he takes on – “Ashok Sharma”, symbolic of his replacement of Mr Ashok in the Light. Adiga suggests that identity is ultimately malleable, using symbolism to highlight Balram’s transformation from villager, to white tiger, to wealthy businessman.

In ‘The White Tiger’, Adiga uses symbolism to highlight the enormous dichotomy between the rich and poor in India, and condemn the oppression endured by those in the Darkness. Adiga also uses symbolism to underscore the importance of an awareness of wider class injustices in society in facilitating an escape from the Darkness into the Light. Furthermore, the capacity for individuals to transform their identity is emphasised through Adiga’s allegorical representation of Balram’s abandonment of his identity as a poor villager and creation of his persona as Ashok Sharma.

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The Struggle to Overcome

August 5, 2019 by Essay Writer

In The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga adopts an epistolary form to depict the plight of a low caste servant, trying to escape the physical and mental chains that forge his destiny. Adiga initially presents a protagonist in Balram, who is engaging, despite confessing to horrific crimes. His language, thoughts, and deeds convey his initially good nature. However, this good nature is also a huge weakness in his journey to freedom as the India Adiga presents is sharply divided into two, the Darkness, and the Light. The Light is where the upper castes reside, filled with malfeasance and nepotism; a hotbed for corruption; whereas the Darkness is where the lower castes dwell, filled with poverty and an archaic sense of duty to family. Balram, being bogged in the Darkness, was forced to overcome his kind but weak nature to escape this Rooster Coop, freeing himself from slavery.

Born with the name “Munna”, and by the end of the novel known as “Ashok Sharma”, Balram goes through a steady transformation from a kind-hearted boy to the animal that “comes only once in a generation”, The White Tiger. He begins as a mere child and a peasant in The Darkness, completely unimportant and unloved, and expected to be completely submissive to the will of his family. Forced to drop a lifetime opportunity without even getting a say in it, he gets a job in a teashop, working with no pride for little pay. After being hired as a driver, he recognizes that his family want to “scoop (him) out from the inside and leave (him) weak and helpless” by using him for monetary gain. Learning this, he rebels, refusing to get married and refusing to dedicate his life to their ends. This signifies a major transition for him, the beginning of his corruption. He blackmails the number one driver into leaving, causing Balram to become the new number one driver, also marking his first malicious act. While he feels some guilt upon doing this, he becomes happier, realizing that his happiness is proportionate to his ruthlessness. The more ruthless he becomes, the stronger his sense of himself as a person becomes, a person that was raised like an animal, made to provide dumbly until he died unceremoniously. Balram needs ruthlessness. Balram values individuality and freedom more than he does morality. To him freedom is a cause worth dying for, and thus it must be a cause worth killing for. Balram’s good hearted nature holds him back, thus he must overcome it to free himself from the Rooster Coop.

Transforming into “The White Tiger”, Balram murders Ashok, finally freeing him from the shackles of the Darkness. Throughout the book, their relationship changes as Balram develops. In the beginning, Balram looks up to Ashok, seeing him as a good man, so he doesn’t cheat him. However, when Ashok forces Balram to take the blame for the traffic accident, it shatters that illusion. This devastates him, feeling betrayed and used. When Pinky Madam leaves Ashok, Ashok becomes corrupt. He starts sleeping around and partying, partaking in every sin from gluttony to lust. He sleeps with a Russian actress whilst Balram sits in the car “hoping he’d come running out… screaming “Balram, I was on the verge of making a mistake!””. Balram becomes disillusioned with Ashok because of this, losing all respect for him. Ironically, this makes him imitate him, following his corruption by stealing petrol, using the car for himself, using it as a taxi, and by going to corrupt mechanics. Finally, the idea of stealing the red bag emerges. The idea of taking 700,000 rupees and be free. The red of the bag symbolizes the blood-stained wealth he will obtain. He sees what he may gain by killing Ashok, freedom. Knowing he would lose his family didn’t affect his decision, as to them he was just a resource. The instant Balram murders Ashok with the whisky bottle, he starts referring to Ashok as an “it”. Using this symbol of wealth as a murder weapon is his final step into The Light. Before, he was a servant, treated like an animal and acting like a piece of furniture. This is how Balram was granted freedom, by escaping his weak nature.

The polarized realities of India are geographically represented. The Light is found in large cities close to the ocean, such as Bangalore which “is the future” with “one in three new office blocks… being built (there)”. The Light radiates from the fast-paced social energy and massive wealth of new industries, such as Balram’s own business which boasts “sixteen drivers… with twenty-six vehicles”. In this rich milieu, entrepreneurial activity, corruption, and social mobility thrive. By illustrating this, Adiga shows that while the nefarious few who sit in offices inside skyscrapers enjoy the Light of the sun, the Darkness cast by the shadows of these edifices engulf the poor. The Darkness is found in inland river villages, particularly along the traditionally sacred northern river system, the Ganga. The Darkness is symbolized as a “Rooster Coop” by Adiga, using zoomorphism to lend animalistic characteristics to people. Roosters in a coop watch one another slaughtered one by one, but are unable or unwilling to rebel and break out of the coop. Similarly, India’s poor people see one another crushed by the wealthy and powerful, defeated by the staggering inequality of Indian society, but are unable to escape the same fate. Liberation from this unforgiving environment forces Balram to adapt, inducing him to murder, cheat, steal, as well as abandon his family. He even had to take on a new identity, but in his own eyes had an “amazing success story”. As he writes “a few hundred thousand rupees of someone else’s money, and a lot of hard work, can make magic happen in this country.” Such is the relentless India that Adiga illustrates, conveying the irony in the Darkness and The Light, as to be in The Light, one must darken their heart. His weak nature was the main thing holding him back, and thus he had to overcome it to escape slavery.

Summarily, in The White Tiger, Balram overcomes his weak nature with a nefarious one as Adiga demonstrates that demonstrates that the cloth of progress and innovation in the highly wealthy Modern India is tightly interwoven with corruption, which is absorbed by Balram. The polarized sides of Modern India, and the rampant corruption forces him to overcome his weak form as a mere rooster, stuck in “the Rooster Coop”, into the animal that “comes along only once in a generation”, “The White Tiger” to free himself from slavery.

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Light and Darkness in The White Tiger

June 20, 2019 by Essay Writer

Aravind Adiga adopts an epistolary form in The White Tiger, depicting the plight of a low caste servant, trying to escape the mental and physical chains that forge his destiny. Adiga initially presents a protagonist in Balram, who is engaging, despite confessing to horrific crimes. His language, thoughts, and deeds convey his originally good nature. However, this honest nature is also an immense weakness in his journey to freedom as the India Adiga presents is sharply divided into two, the Darkness, and the Light. The upper castes reside in the Light, filled with malfeasance and nepotism, a hotbed for corruption, whereas the lower castes reside in the Darkness, filled with poverty and an archaic sense of duty to family. Balram, being bogged in the Darkness, had to become his own master to succeed, as this duty to family and rampant corruption shackled him.

The polarized realities of India are geographically represented. The Light is found in large cities close to the ocean, such as Bangalore which “is the future” with “one in three new office blocks… being built (there)”. The Light radiates from the fast-paced social energy and massive wealth of new industries, such as Balram’s own business which boasts “sixteen drivers… with twenty-six vehicles”. In this rich milieu, entrepreneurial activity corruption, and social mobility thrive. By illustrating this, Adiga highlights that while the nefarious few who sit in offices inside skyscrapers enjoy the Light of the sun, the Darkness cast by the shadows of these edifices engulf the poor. The Darkness is found in inland river villages, particularly along the traditionally sacred northern river system, the Ganga. The Darkness is symbolised as a “Rooster Coop” by Adiga, using zoomorphism to lend animalistic characteristics to people. Roosters in a coop watch one another slaughtered one by one, but are unable or unwilling to rebel and break out of the coop. Similarly, India’s poor people see one another crushed by the wealthy and powerful, defeated by the staggering inequality of Indian society but are unable to escape the same fate. Thus, Balram realises that he must rebel against his master to escape this inequality, becoming his own master.

Born with the name “Munna”, and ultimately known as “Ashok Sharma”, Balram goes through a steady transformation from a kind-hearted boy to the animal that “comes only once in a generation”, the white tiger. He begins as a mere child and peasant in the Darkness, completely unimportant and unloved, and expected to be completely submissive to the will of his family. Forced to drop a lifetime of opportunity without even getting a say in it, he gets a job in a teashop, working for no pride with little pay. After being hired as a driver, he recognizes that his family want to “scoop (him) out from the inside and leave (him) weak and helpless” by using him for monetary gain. Learning this, he rebels, refusing to get married and refusing to dedicate his life to their ends. This signifies a major transition for him, the beginning of his corruption. He blackmails the number one driver into leaving, causing Balram to become the new number one driver, also marking his first malicious act. While he feels some guilt upon doing this, he becomes happier, realizing that his happiness is proportionate to his ruthlessness. The more ruthless he becomes, the stronger his sense of himself as a person becomes, a person that was raised like an animal, a person made to provide dumbly until he died unceremoniously. Balram needs ruthlessness. He values individuality and freedom more than he does morality. To him freedom is a cause worth dying for, and thus it must be a cause worth killing for. This freedom wasn’t obtainable while under Ashok’s control. Thus, Balram was driven to become his own master to be “free”.

Transforming into “The White Tiger”, Balram murders Ashok, finally freeing him from the shackles of the Darkness. Throughout the book, their relationship changes as Balram develops. Initially, Balram looks up to Ashok, seeing him as a good man, so he doesn’t cheat him. However, when Ashok forces Balram to take the blame for a traffic accident, it shatters that illusion. This devastates him, feeling betrayed and used. When Pinky Madam leaves Ashok, Ashok becomes corrupt. He starts sleeping around and partaking in every sin from gluttony to lust. He sleeps with a Russian Actress whilst Balram sits in the car “hoping he’d come running out”, believing he was “on the verge of making a mistake”. From this, Balram becomes disillusioned with Ashok, losing all respect for him. Ironically, this makes Balram imitate him, following his corruption by stealing petrol, suing the car for himself, using it as a taxi, and by going to corrupt mechanics. Finally, the idea of stealing the red bag emerges. He idea of taking seven-hundred-thousand rupees and be free. The red of the bag symbolizes the blood-stained wealth he will obtain. He sees what he may gain by killing Ashok, freedom. Knowing he would lose his family didn’t affect this decision, as to them he was just a resource. The instant Balram murders Ashok with the whiskey bottle, he starts referring to him as an “it”. Using this symbol of wealth as a murder weapon “shatters” the wall between him and the Light, escaping the Darkness. Thus, Adiga conveys that the only way for Balram to be “free” was to become his own master, only achieving this by killing his previous master.

Summarily in The White Tiger, Balram is shackled in the Darkness, by the staggering inequality of Indian society, his family, and his servitude. Thus, Adiga conveys that the only escape from the Darkness is relinquishing these bonds, meaning Balram was compelled to become his own master in his quest for “freedom”.

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Balram: A product of his environment?

May 23, 2019 by Essay Writer

In The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga initially presents a protagonist in Balram, who is engaging, despite confessing to horrific crimes. His language, thoughts, and deeds convey his initially good nature. However, by the end of the novel, immorality and corruption overtake Balram. This isn’t due to him being corrupt and evil at heart, but caused by India itself. The India Adiga presents is sharply divided into two, The Darkness, and The Light. The Light is where the upper castes reside, filled with malfeasance and nepotism; a hotbed for corruption, whereas The Darkness is where the lower castes dwell, filled with poverty and an archaic sense of duty to family. Balram, being bogged in The Darkness, was forced to alter his morality to escape the “rooster coop”, and enter The Light.

Born with the name “Munna”, and by the end of the novel known as “Ashok Sharma”, Balram goes through a steady transformation from a kind-hearted boy to the animal that “comes only once in a generation”, The White Tiger. He begins as a mere child and a peasant in The Darkness, completely unimportant and unloved, and expected to be completely submissive to the will of his family. Forced to drop a lifetime opportunity without even getting a say in it, he gets a job in a teashop, working with no pride for little pay. After being hired as a driver, he recognizes that his family want to “scoop (him) out from the inside and leave (him) weak and helpless” by using him for monetary gain. Learning this, he rebels, refusing to get married and refusing to dedicate his life to their ends. This signifies a major transition for him, the beginning of his corruption. He blackmails the number one driver into leaving, causing Balram to become the new number one driver, also marking his first malicious act. While he feels some guilt upon doing this, he becomes happier, realising that his happiness is proportionate to his ruthlessness. The more ruthless he becomes, the stronger his sense of himself as a person becomes, a person that was raised like an animal, made to provide dumbly until he died unceremoniously. Balram needs ruthlessness. Balram values individuality and freedom more than he does morality. To him freedom is a cause worth dying for, and thus it must be a cause worth killing for. Balram is not an evil person, for what he does is necessary in becoming a true person in India at all.

Transforming into “The White Tiger”, Balram murders Ashok, finally freeing him from the shackles of the Darkness. Throughout the book, their relationship changes as Balram develops. In the beginning, Balram looks up to Ashok, seeing him as a good man, so he doesn’t cheat him. However, when Ashok forces Balram to take the blame for the traffic accident, it shatters that illusion. This devastates him, feeling betrayed and used. When Pinky Madam leaves Ashok, Ashok becomes corrupt. He starts sleeping around and partying, partaking in every sin from gluttony to lust. He sleeps with a Russian actress whilst Balram sits in the car “hoping he’d come running out… screaming “Balram, I was on the verge of making a mistake!””. Balram becomes disillusioned with Ashok because of this, losing all respect for him. Ironically, this makes him imitate him, following his corruption by stealing petrol, using the car for himself, using it as a taxi, and by going to corrupt mechanics. Finally, the idea of stealing the red bag emerges. The idea of taking 700,000 rupees and be free. The red of the bag symbolizes the blood-stained wealth he will obtain. He sees what he may gain by killing Ashok, freedom. Knowing he would lose his family didn’t affect his decision, as to them he was just a resource. The instant Balram murders Ashok with the whisky bottle, he starts referring to Ashok as an “it”. Using this symbol of wealth as a murder weapon is his final step into The Light. Before, he was a servant, treated like an animal and acting like a piece of furniture. The setting of India forced him to do everything he did to change. For the environment forced him into becoming “The White Tiger”.

The polarized realities of India are geographically represented. The Light is found in large cities close to the ocean, such as Bangalore which “is the future” with “one in three new office blocks… being built (there)”. The Light radiates from the fast-paced social energy and massive wealth of new industries, such as Balram’s own business which boasts “sixteen drivers… with twenty-six vehicles”. In this rich milieu, entrepreneurial activity, corruption, and social mobility thrive. By illustrating this, Adiga shows that while the nefarious few who sit in offices inside skyscrapers enjoy the Light of the sun, the Darkness cast by the shadows of these edifices engulf the poor. The Darkness is found in inland river villages, particularly along the traditionally sacred northern river system, the Ganga. The Darkness is symbolized as a “Rooster Coop” by Adiga, using zoomorphism to lend animalistic characteristics to people. Roosters in a coop watch one another slaughtered one by one, but are unable or unwilling to rebel and break out of the coop. Similarly, India’s poor people see one another crushed by the wealthy and powerful, defeated by the staggering inequality of Indian society, but are unable to escape the same fate. Liberation from this unforgiving environment forces Balram to adapt, inducing him to murder, cheat, steal, as well as abandon his family. He even had to take on a new identity, but in his own eyes had an “amazing success story”. As he writes “a few hundred thousand rupees of someone else’s money, and a lot of hard work, can make magic happen in this country.” Such is the relentless India that Adiga illustrates, conveying the irony in the Darkness and The Light, as to be in The Light, one must darken their heart. This setting shaped Balram into the man he became, turning the innocent “Munna” into the savage but noble, “White Tiger”.

In Aravind Adiga’s, The White Tiger, Balram becomes nefarious due to his habitat as Adiga demonstrates that the cloth of progress and innovation in the highly wealthy Modern India is tightly interwoven with corruption, which is absorbed by Balram. The polarised sides of Modern India, and the rampant corruption forces him to evolve from a mere rooster, stuck in “the Rooster Coop”, into the animal that “comes along only once in a generation”, “The White Tiger”.

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Finding Identity in The White Tiger

April 25, 2019 by Essay Writer

Aravind Adiga adopts an epistolary form in The White Tiger, depicting the plight of a low caste servant, trying to escape the physical and mental chains that forge his destiny. Adiga initially presents a protagonist in Balram, who is engaging, despite confessing to horrific crimes. His language, thoughts, and deeds convey his originally good nature. However, this honest nature is also an immense weakness in his transformative journey to freedom as the India Adiga presents is sharply divided into two is sharply divided into two, the Darkness, and the Light. The upper castes reside in the Light, filled with malfeasance and nepotism; a hotbed for corruption; whereas the Darkness hosts the lower castes, filled with poverty and an archaic sense of duty to family. This environment forces Balram to transform to construct his “own” identity.

The polarised realities of India are geographically represented. The Light is found in large cities close to the ocean, such as Bangalore which “is the future” with “one in three new office blocks… being built” there. The Light radiates from the fast-paced social energy and massive wealth of new industries, such as Balram’s own business which boasts “sixteen drivers” and “twenty-six vehicles”. In this rich milieu, entrepreneurial activity, corruption, and social mobility thrive. By illustrating this, Adiga highlights that while the nefarious few who sit in offices inside skyscrapers enjoy the Light of the sun, the Darkness cast by the shadows of these towering edifices engulf the poor. The Darkness is found in inland river villages, particularly along the traditionally sacred northern river system, the Ganga. The Darkness is symbolised as a “Rooster Coop” by Adiga, using zoomorphism to lend animalistic characteristics to people. Roosters in a coop watch one another slaughtered one by one, but are unable or unwilling to rebel and break out of the coop. Similarly, India’s poor see one another crushed by the wealthy and powerful, defeated by the staggering inequality of Indian society, but are unable to escape the same fate. This environment forces Balram to adapt leaving his kind nature for an immoral one. With this, Adiga conveys that to succeed in post-partition India, one must be corrupt.

Born with the name “Munna” (literally meaning boy), and ultimately known as “Ashok Sharma”, Balram goes through a steady transformation from a kind-hearted boy to the animal that “comes only once in a generation”, the White Tiger, constructing his own identity. He begins as a mere child and a peasant in the Darkness, completely unimportant and unloved, and expected to be completely submissive to the will of his family. Forced to drop a lifetime of opportunity without even getting a say in it, he gets a job in a teashop, working with no pride for little pay. After being hired as a driver, he recognizes that his family want to “scoop (him) out from the inside and leave (him) weak and helpless” by using him for monetary gain. Learning this, he rebels, refusing to get married and refusing to dedicate his life to their ends. This signifies a major transition for him, the beginning of his corruption. He blackmails the number one driver into leaving, causing Balram to become the new number one driver, whilst also marking his first malicious act. While he feels some guilt upon doing this, he becomes happier, realizing that his happiness is proportionate to his ruthlessness. The more ruthless he becomes, the stronger his sense of himself as a person becomes, a person that was raised like an animal, made to provide dumbly until he died unceremoniously. Balram needs ruthlessness. He values individuality and freedom more than he does morality. To him freedom is a cause worth dying for, thus it must be a cause worth killing for. Therefore, Adiga conveys that his transformation was not only self-fashioning but also fashioned by his environment.

Transforming into “The White Tiger”, Balram murders Ashok, finally freeing himself from the shackles of the Darkness. Throughout the book, their relationship changes as Balram transforms. In the beginning, Balram looks up to Ashok, seeing his as a respectable man, so he doesn’t cheat him. However, when Ashok forces Balram to take the blame for the traffic incident, it shatters that illusion. This devastates him, feeling betrayed and used. When Pinky Madam leaves Ashok, Ashok becomes corrupt. He starts sleeping aroung and partying, partaking in every sin from gluttony to lust. He sleeps with a Russian actress whilst Balram sits in the car “hoping he’d come running out… screaming ‘Balram, I was on the verge of making a mistake’”. Balram becomes disillusioned with Ashok because of this, losing all respect for him. Ironically, this makes him imitate Ashok, following his corruption by stealing petrol, using the car for himself, using it as a taxi, and by going to corrupt mechanics. Finally, the idea of stealing the red bag emerges. The idea of taking seven-hundred-thousand rupees and be free. The red bag symbolises the blood-stained wealth he will obtain. He sees what he may gain by killing Ashok, his freedom, his ability to create his own identity. Knowing he would lose his family didn’t affect his decision, as to them he was just a resource. The instant Balram murders Ashok with the whiskey bottle, he starts referring to Ashok as an “it”. Using this symbol of wealth as a murder weapon is his final step into the Light. Before, he was a servant, treated like an animal and acting like a piece of furniture. He now has created his “own” identity, although it was mainly fashioned by his surroundings.

Summarily, in The White Tiger, Balram’s journey to create his own identity is largely fashioned by the environment he’s in, rather than his own power. Thus, Adiga conveys how in this India one can only create their own identity to a certain extent, as part of it will be created by their surroundings.

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