University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
The novel “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga is a powerful piece of writing about the economic system, social classes and corruption in India. The protagonist in the novel is Balram, a poor rickshaw puller’s son who lives in a small village from the darkness. He has alway wanted to break out of the caste system, where a person’s fate was determined at birth by the position of his or her family. He wants to become rich. The darkness is the poor and miserable areas of India, while the light is the opposite. Balram’s dream is changing his destiny, he takes a journey from the darkness to the light, committing a crime.
For him, the main different between the rich and the poor is education. Others just accept their destinies as doing what their family do, but Balram’s dream is bigger, his willingness to learn is incredible. His curiosity and interests in learning, having more information, bring him a step toward the light. He climbs his way from dropping out of school because the money was needed for a cousin’s wedding to be working in a tea shop, then learns how to drive and becomes the driver of a rich and powerful landlord’s son, Mr. Ashok. “Me, and thousands of others in this country like me, are half-baked, because we were never allowed to complete our schooling” -Balram Halwai. Others will just quit but Balram has the ambition, determination to change his destiny.
Was once an innocent driver, he gets influenced by the social and the environment when he moved to Delhi, the big city. He learned and adapted to how the rich people live, how they spend their money, how to act and be a rich person. He learns new things from his fellow friends and other drivers. He starts doing what the rich does, getting a blonde hair girl, living the life of luxury. He is told on how to cheat on his master, to make more money. Money is corrupting the system, it talks the way out of anything, even murders. Once, Mr. Ashok’s wife, Ms. Pinky is drunk driving and killed a kid, Balram has to take the fault and sign the confession letter they prepare for him, even though he isn’t in the car at all when the accident happen. The one with the money is the one with more power and can tell others what to do.
The situation of corruption is addressed from two points of view, one is the rich and one is Balram, the darkness. Mr. Ashok comes back from America as a good person, but he has to adapt to how India’s economic and social system work, yet they persuade him to be corrupted. He has to listen and do things the more powerful people say, and money seems to run everything in the country. Mr. Ashok takes out money from the bank to seek the higher power interests in him. He never has an idea on his own what should he be doing but listening to others running his life. Balram on the other hand, seeks the opportunity to kill his master and conceal his crime with money, and it works perfectly. The corruption has helped Balram to become an entrepreneur, to go from the darkness to the light, to be a rich man. The thin line to break, but it costs the life of his master, Mr. Ashok. “ The tale of how I was corrupted from a sweet, innocent village fool into a citified fellow full of debauchery, depravity and wickedness.”- Balram Halwai