The White Tiger Essay

The significance of the Darkness and the Light in the book The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The contrast between the Darkness and the Light is often mentioned in this book. The darkness is described as the poor and miserable areas of the rural India, while the light is the opposite. In the light there are often flourishing cities crawling with entrepreneurs and hard workers. In The White Tiger one gets to follow Balram Halwai’s journey from the darkness to the light.

Needless to say, India is far from the American dream. Once you are born into a certain type of caste you will probably spend your entire life with a fixed position in the social hierarchy. When Balram refers to the darkness he often mentions the poverty, ignorance and most importantly, the lack of education.

“Me, and thousands of others in this country like me, are half-baked, because we were never allowed to complete our schooling” -Balram Halwai

Primarily, what separates the light from the darkness is the level of education. Many people from the darkness end up being servants or drivers for their masters from the light. Balram describes the other servants as ignorant and unengaged. Nonetheless, what separates Balram from the others is his willingness to learn. While driving, he picks up a lot of interesting information by eavesdropping on his master, Mr. Ashok. With knowledge comes the ability to question and increased ambition, I think his increased knowledge is what inspires Balram to take the leap from the darkness to the light. Unlike the other servants he does not feel inferior to his master.

“… 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

In the big cities the traditional moral values do not apply anymore, instead money talks. Corruption is widespread, ranging all the way from the bottom to the top in the social hierarchy. Most cities in the light are clashes of western and indian cultures. This means that materialism has gained the upper hand in these parts. Over time, Balram slowly transforms from the innocent village boy to the more egocentric city denizen. This is clearly shown when he abruptly stops sending payments to his family and spends this money rather on alcohol and debauchery.

” I was looking for the key for years/ but the door was always open”- Iqbal, Pakistani poet

I think this quotation is one of the most thematic for the book. Balram was discontent with his present situation and wanted a way out of the rooster coop that he was trapped inside. He eventually realized that the change originated within him, the door out of the coop was always open. All it took was someone who stood out from the rest/ a white tiger to break out of the coop, which took the form of killing his own master. However, by doing so, Balram fulfilled his journey from the darkness to the light and thus becoming his own master.

Finally, the darkness and the light divide India in two very different categories, extreme poverty versus wealth, or “small bellies and big bellies” as Balram puts it. The contrast between the darkness and the light is so big that in the same country people can live in mansions with luxury cars and multiple servants while others can only afford a water buffalo in order to get nutrition to survive. Albeit, India has at this time a growing middle class and a developing economy it still has its social problems. Just look at what’s going on right now, women and children get raped and left to die whithout judicial priority. Although I think these problems are hard to deal with since moral values are hard to change, but by solving problems like these and the educational gaps that are brought forth in “The White Tiger”, India can take a step towards a more equal society and hopefully erase the world that Balram refers to as “the Darkness”.

More Essays

  • White Tiger

    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...

  • Semilarities White Tiger and Slumdog Millionear

    We have read a book called The White Tiger and seen a movie named Slumdog millionaire. These two stories take place in India, a place where the difference between rich and poor is extremely clear. We have learned that a successful life doesn't come cheap, it often comes with a lot of baggage which reveals...

  • A Soul Built Through Pain and Suffering

    Similar to imprints on sand or carvings in wood, character is moulded and developed by indents – through pain and suffrage. In the novel, The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga explores the dark realities of India's caste system with a story of a man who broke through the division. The quote by Helen Keller,...

  • The White Tiger

    Similar to carvings in wood, character is molded by indents- through pain and suffrage. This notion is evident in Aravind Adiga's novel, The White Tiger, in which Balram Halwaii seeks to create his own destiny. Having no role models within his family to help to guide him along his fated path, Balram quickly...

  • Social Injustices and the American Dream in Ralph Ellison’s _battle Royal_

    Ralph Ellison's "The Battle Royal" represents the socioeconomic tensions in the early twentieth century. Written in 1952, Ellison brings light to the fact black citizens were still being seen as inferior to their white counterparts decades after slavery was abolished. In a society where black citizens were...

  • Coach Carter Way

    The American Educational institution is stereotypical in a sense that's it's built around the American Dream concept. The American educational institution set that platform for the future. Students go to grammar school, junior high, and high school in aspiration to go on to higher education. In the movie...

  • The Great Escape

    "What a fucking joke!", that quote is what I was repeating like a mantra when reading Aravind Adiga's novel The White Tiger. The narrator introduces that phrase at the beginning of the story and when I go through his encounters I can't help but to say it too. This novel takes place in India and the story of...

  • Elocution

    TOPIC: INDIA OF MY DREAMS Respected teacher, my dear friends Good morning. Today I am going to discuss about India of dreams. It is human to dream. Individual, dream about their future of the nation, is something different, and I had one such a dream. India once known as golden bird, and has been a home...

  • Formative Writing – Slumdog Millionaire

    The film ‘Slumdog Millionaire' by British born director Danny Boyle, gives a particular insight into life in India, and more specifically the city of Mumbai through the use of setting. It is this cultural backdrop presented through the perspective of foreigner that not only makes the film special, but also...

  • Street Children in India

    According to the definition of the UNICEF, a street child is someone from whom the street has become his or her home and source of living; and who isn't protected by responsible adults. Thus, the term "street children" refers to children who work and live on their own on the street. Because it is difficult...

The White Tiger Essay

The Corrupted Society Of Mankind

Nothing in life is fully guaranteed, however all we wish for is to be treated equally in a normal society. When people begin to mistreat others is truly when society beings to corrupt. In Aravind Adiga’s, ‘The White Tiger’, the author begins to exploit the main reasons why people are treated so differently in our community today. Through many incidents that Balram encounters, each one portrays the human inequality rights around the world. Balram establishes three different human inequality rights such as discrimination, racism and slavery through his own person experiences.

Balram proves through his own personal experience of how being discriminated can greatly impact the lives of humans. To begin, Balram goes door to door looking for a job as a driver to support his family. The individual is quick to comment about Balram’s caste and has this to say, “only a boy from the warrior castes can manage that. Muslims, Rajputs, Sikhs—they’re fighters, they can become drivers” (Adiga, 47). The individual that Balram approaches is quick to narrow down the castes of people that he wants to work for him.

Therefore, when he finds out that Balram is a Halwai, he quickly neglects Balram as he does not think someone of Balram’s caste can fulfill his duties as a driver. Furthermore, after somebody is finally interested in hiring Balram as a driver, they have one last question for him. The question is, “halwai… What caste is that, top or bottom” (53). The future as a driver for Balram depends on one last question about something that should not even matter. Everyone that interviews him is so blinded by his religion that they overlook his true potential as a driver. Moreover, Balram finally obtains a job as a driver but his fellow driver is soon fired based on being a Muslim. When his co- driver is fired, it leaves Balram with thoughts such as, “what a miserable life he’s had, having to hide his religion, his name just to get a job as a driver” (93). Balram shows sympathy for his fellow driver because he cannot make a living in the world just because he is a Muslim. This man must silence his own beliefs to make it somewhere in the world. In conclusion, people overlook somebody’s true potential just because of their race.

Throughout the book, Balram is introduced to two different social spectrums,

the rich and the poor. He abruptly finds out the difference in life when you are on either side of the spectrum. Firstly, Balram establishes the difference in physical appearance between the rich and the poor. While describing the differences, Balram says, “a rich man’s body is like a premium cotton pillow, white and soft and blanks. Ours are different… The story of a poor man’s life is written on his body, in sharp pen” (22). Balram justifies that the excruciating work the poor endure leaves a story on their body. However, he describes the rich’s bodies as nice pillows because they do not endure the physical pain that the poor have to go through. Secondly, Balram reflects on the different destinies from the past to the present. Balram states, “these days, there are just two castes: Men with Big bellies, and men with small bellies.

And only two destinies: eat- or get eaten up” (54). Balram identifies that there are only two extremes, the poor and the lords, nothing in between. It is the rich’s destiny to eat on the souls of the poor by making life harder for them, and it is the poor’s destiny to avoid being used by the rich. Moreover, Balram begins to identify that the dreams of the rich and the poor, never seem to overlap. Balram explains, “the poor dream all their lives of getting enough to eat and looking like the rich. And what do the rich dream of? Losing weight and looking like the poor” (191). Balram finds it quite ironic that the rich dream of looking like the poor, and the poor dream of looking like the rich. He establishes that once you have everything that you ever wanted, you begin to lose value in life which is the main difference between the rich and poor. In conclusion, both sides of the social spectrums are treated differently and have different destinies.

Balram illustrates the slavery that still exists in the world and explains how you can escape it. Initially, Balram begins to complain about the lack of freedom he has, even if he is a driver. Balram complains about, “… anytime I was not driving the car, I had to sweep the floor of the courtyard, make tea… or chase a cow out of the compound” (58). Even though Balram is only hired as a driver, he is still treated like a slave. Every chance Balram gets to take a break, he is forced to do tasks around the house besides the fact it is not his responsibility. Furthermore, Balram explains how anywhere you go, you are still considered a slave.

Balram’s reason is, “we have left the village, but the masters still own us, body, soul and arse” (169). Balram means that even if you relocate yourself, you are still owned by your master. No matter how far you travel, you will not have any freedom rights because the only way to be free is to be your own master. Lastly, Balram finally figures out how to escape slavery to lead a better life. His answer to escape slavery is, “once you realize what is beautiful in this world, you stop being a slave” (236). This means that even if you are brought out of the darkness and into the light side of the city, you are still a slave. However, the only way to truly escape slavery is to consider the wonders of life and what a beautiful place it is to live in. Once you appreciate the nature of the world, you stop thinking yourself as a slave. In summary, Balram establishes the slavery that still exists in the world; however the only way to escape slavery is to enjoy living.

In conclusion, Balram illustrates the disadvantages of being discriminated against, slavery and the differences of life when you are either rich or poor through his own personal experiences. In ‘The White Tiger’ the author establishes why people are treated so differently in our world today. As humans, nothing is promised but when people begin to segregate each other is when problems truly start to arise to corrupt our world.

More Essays

  • Racism Against the African American

    African-Americans since the beginning of slavery have suffered extreme segregation in all sectors of life. This group of people formed the civil rights movement in order to fight for their rights. This paper looks at the significant events which have changed the course of the civil rights movement in the...

  • Race

    In our society, racial inequality has always been a concerning issue for past decades, but certain parents' state their opinions on the open discussions of our history and present with racism. The question of whether or not they should speak to their children about the racism that certain individuals...

  • Discuss How the Concepts of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ Perpetuate Inequality in Australia

    ‘As concepts, race and nation are largely empty receptacles through and in the names of which population groups may be invented, interpreted and imagined as communities or societies' (Goldberg, 1993: 79). Race and ethnicity are major contributing factors of racism in Australia today, and the continued...

  • How the Town of Maycomb Strongly Demonstrates Social Iniquity

    People can be unfair, unjust, and downright cruel. In the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird", there is a good demonstration by the members of Maycomb's society of the theme of social iniquity that has very strong supporting evidence towards this opinion. Many different acts are shown to price the county of...

  • Discrimination – Thought

    1. What do you consider to be the most valuable information you got from this class? Why do you consider this most valuable? I think that the most valuable thing that I took from this class is the fact that racism is still very much a major part of our society. Growing up in rural Iowa I always new that...

  • Affirmative Action Racism and Discrimination

    America is called "the land of opportunity" however, most of the countries citizens are not able to enjoy the benefits that the title provides. Being able to accomplish scholastic goals, attend a four-year college, and to have an influential career, are not obtainable for many, even though they work hard....

  • Reaction to _race, the Power of Illusion_

    Viewing this documentary was an extremely valuable experience in my understanding of not only some of the material we've been discussing in our course, but also in developing a much more developed grasp on the full extent of our nation's ugly history of racism. While, by and large, I was already keenly...

  • Racism on Sociology

    1. Introduction: This topic is geared towards the issue of racial discrimination. As a basis for the discussion, this topic will present a case of discrimination against Negro citizens and their right to vote. This case will show the conflicting roles which the different aspects of the government play in...

  • Clashes of Race

    Abstract The purpose of this paper is to explore racism and discrimination within America. It was also a goal to show the relationships between racial clashes throughout history, and what the purpose behind the clashes was. By showing these clashes society gets a better understand of what triggers these...

  • The Individual, Society and Change

    Over the years, people have always been motivated to take action and make a change in the society because of many different factors such as pain, desire to be better person, bad conditions of life or habits. And all of these desires can become true by the motivation, constant, and continued efforts to...

The White Tiger Essay

Similar to carvings in wood, character is molded by indents- through pain and suffrage. This notion is evident in Aravind Adiga’s novel, The White Tiger, in which Balram Halwaii seeks to create his own destiny. Having no role models within his family to help to guide him along his fated path, Balram quickly becomes determined to free himself of the corruptness embedded in India’s system. In order to escape, however, he must be ambitious, risky, and even unethical. Balram must face and overcome the dark realities of his caste if he ever wants to taste freedom. Due to the circumstances of being raised without true parents, and living within a city of corruptness allow Balram’s actions throughout the novel, though some unethical, to be justified.

Balram is raised in the lower-social caste town of Laxmangrah. He witnesses the death of both his parents, from diseases in both of which could have been cured had they been members of a high-caste. Balram’s father, Vikram, succumbed to tuberculosis. While at the deserted hospital, Balram learns of the ignorance of India’s government as they failed to care for his father’s condition and illness. “The way boys made us clean up our Father before we could remove the body. A goat came in and sniffed as were mopping the blood off the floor. The ward boys petter her and fed her a plump carrot as we mopped our father’s infected blood off the floor.” (42). The horrific death of Vikram emphasizes the dark reality of the caste system Balram is caged in. An innocent life lost that Balram always respected and admired, a life that protected him from his fear of lizards, and taught him to always have pride in everything he does, is now the same exact life that had to be mopped off the dirty floor by his very own son.

The abandonment of life in India numbed Balram as a boy, and who could blame him. He quickly realizes following his father’s death that he lives in a dog-eat-dog society and home. Everyone is out there for himself or herself, and no hero is coming to save Balram from his corrupted society. He thinks back to his encounter with his. “I couldn’t stop thinking of Kishan’s body. They were eating him alive in there! They would do the same thing to him that they did to father- scoop him out from the inside and leave him weak and helpless until he got tuberculosis and died on the floor of a government hospital…” (74).

Balram realizes that the women within his family, especially his grandmother, use the men for endless labor to provide for the family, wearing them down until they look like skeletons. His grandmother’s letters of blackmail demanding money from Balram are another example of greediness within the family. Balram realizes that he truly is alone and must fend for himself. No one in his family will help to guide him forward, leaving a young boy helpless. Family members are usually viewed as role models and are the first people one will often go to for advice, but Balram never had that opportunity.

India is a city of corruptness and lies. Balram states “one fact about India is that you can take almost anything you hear about the country from the prime minister and turn it upside down and then you will have the truth about that thing.” (12). This quote helps to explain how deceitful India really is, as everything is a lie. Also present in the Indian society is servitude. The servants work their fingers to the bone and hail down to their employer expressing the utmost amount of pride. Even if a starving servant were to stumble upon two million rupees accidentally left behind by the upper cast, the servant would not touch it, as Waller states, “because they are a part of a rooster coop, they will not take advantage of the careless mistakes of the upper castes.” It is unbelievable how much respect a servant can have for his master, yet the master can have none for his servant. Balram and his family are members of the lowest caste in India, and the only lower they could get is if buried underground into death.

The economy of India will not seem to change either, as only the rich have a say and obviously have nothing to complain about. The rulers of India also believe that their country is perfect; but they clearly do not see the deaths of innocent lives or the walking skeletons just trying to survive day by day in the lower castes, being treated like none other than a bug on a wall. To say the least, the political system is corrupt. People in the lower castes, like Balram, live for nothing other than an income, sacrificing every last bit of energy and even their lives to support their families and employers.

It seems as if the government is blind, and refuses to face the poverty epidemic, which has spread throughout the country. If only the citizens of India could vote for a new leader, but it seems as if the government owns their votes as well. The only way for Balram to move up in society would be to take risks, be determined, and to have a sense of immortality. No one should live in a country of corruptness, and if the only way to escape it would be to take some unethical actions, by all means would the actions are justified.

In conclusion, growing up with no sense of guidance and living within a society of wickedness allows Balram’s actions taken over the course of the novel to be justified. Fueled by his dark life of having witnessed his father die, and being stripped of his pride by the rich, Balram is rightfully determined to escape the rooster coop and reach the light. Hopefully Balram can find a way to embrace the nothingness he is raised with as an advantage later in the novel. It takes a white tiger, an animal that comes around only once in a generation, to break away from societal rules. As Robert Frost once said, “Freedom lies in being bold.”

More Essays

  • A Soul Built Through Pain and Suffering

    Similar to imprints on sand or carvings in wood, character is moulded and developed by indents – through pain and suffrage. In the novel, The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga explores the dark realities of India's caste system with a story of a man who broke through the division. The quote by Helen Keller,...

  • Changing Face of Indian Villages

    India is a land of villages. It is said that real India lives in villages. About seventy per cent of its population lives in villages. India is undergoing revolutionary changes. Its villages are not untouched by those changes. The changes are reflected in every walk of life. These changes have been brought...

  • The Great Gatsby and Great Expectations_ a Comparison

    Since the beginning of time, society has been separated into classes; the rulers and the ruled, the rich and the poor, the nobility and the common folk. One can find examples of social caste systems in any time period. Over time, social standards have changed, but one thing has not. Those who possess wealth...

  • Untouchables

    In the article Untouchable, Tom O'Neil tells us what being an untouchable is all about. By interviewing those labeled as untouchable, O'Neil finds a way to truly express to us what it's like to be an untouchable and the true underlying complications that the seeming unbreakable caste system has projected on...

  • The Great Escape

    "What a fucking joke!", that quote is what I was repeating like a mantra when reading Aravind Adiga's novel The White Tiger. The narrator introduces that phrase at the beginning of the story and when I go through his encounters I can't help but to say it too. This novel takes place in India and the story of...

  • Social Discrimination in India_ a Case for Economic Citizenship

    SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION IN INDIA: A CASE FOR ECONOMIC CITIZENSHIP Barbara Harriss-White** and Aseem Prakash* I: Introduction Through the Constitution the Indian state promises equality to all its citizens. The various provisions of the Constitution elucidated in the chapters on Fundamental Rights...

  • national Integration in India.

    National Integration is a feeling that binds together the citizens of our country and make us to think and act as if we are one. India is a land of diversity. There are many languages, religions, castes, races and cultures in India. Since ancient times, people belonging to different communities, races,...

  • Role of Ncc in Nation Building

    The word "culture" is rather difficult to define accurately and is as elusive as the term civilisation. Culture to the anthropologist refers to the sum total of the possessions of an identifiable group of people. The concept covers material as well as non-material things, the latter including language,...

  • Reservation in India

    Reservation policy fails to achieve its purpose of giving equal opportunity to everyone because of lack of infrastructure in the rural areas of the country where the proportion of backward classes is significant. A number of people living in some remote areas in Orissa, M. P. or Bihar are not even aware of...

  • the Southern Gothic Motif of Harper Lee’s to Kill a Mockingbird

    Thesis: In the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the various types of outsiders and the small town of Maycomb contribute to the novel's Southern gothic motif. All throughout the book Lee introduces us to different kinds of outsiders willing to make a change. During the Tom Robinson trial, Link Deas...