There are two ways to view Balram Halwai, the protagonist in
Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger: Is he downright evil, or is he
forced into taking desperate measures to free himself from India's oppressive
caste system? Balram refuses to send money home to his struggling family,
kills his boss, and then skips town, even though he knows what devastating
effects his murderous act will have on his kin when his employer's family
discovers what he has done. Is he a heinous character, or is he just taking
advantage of certain opportunities. Either way, he's manipulative and anxious to
succeed in a world that is completely against him.
In a funny, derisive tale about life in modern India, Aravind Adiga creates a modern-day Iago* with money on the brain. Balram, also called 'the boy' and 'the white tiger,' narrates his life's story in a series of daily letters to His ...
About the Author
Aravind Adiga was born in India in 1974 and was raised partly in Australia. He attended Columbia and Oxford Universities. He is a former correspondent for Time Magazine and a former contributor to The Financial Times. He now lives in Mumbai (Bombay), India, where he is currently working on his second novel.
The White Tiger was influenced by three black American writers: Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright. Critics have observed a strong thematic similarity between The White Tiger and Wright's The Native Son. Balram Halwai, however, comes directly from the Indian streets. Adiga says, "Balram is what you'd hear if one day the drains and faucets in your house [in India] started talking."
Although Adiga emphasizes that The White Tiger is a work of fiction, it nonetheless has elements, like the many examples of corruption, that are ...
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