The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - Essay Example

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The main character of The White Tiger is a village boy born into a poor family in one of the dusty villages of north India, referred to in the book as the darkness. Balram is a boy with little education and the urge to break away from the life of poverty and misery into which he is born…
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Download file to see previous pages Balram is a boy with little education and the urge to break away from the life of poverty and misery into which he is born. As Balram Halwai is thrust into the glittering life of the rich in India’s capital, the difference between those in his station in life and that of his employers is sharply brought into focus. This is the turning point, and it is the humiliations and injustices that he faces that finally push him into using any means to escape into a better life. As he explains "In the old days there were one thousand India. These days, there are just two castes: Men with Big Bellies, and Men with Small Bellies."(pg 64) Balram is determined to do whatever it takes to become a big-bellied man, and to this end, he resorts to bribing the police, bending the rules or even worse. After all he has learnt these lessons from his rich masters themselves! I think the protagonist of Aravind Adiga’s novel is an entrepreneur. He has most of the qualities that are required for entrepreneurship. Balram himself lists these when he says “The Indian entrepreneur has to be straight and crooked, mocking and believing, sly and sincere at the same time.”(pg 9) Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." (Albert Einstein Quotes) and Balram Halwai echoes this when he swears by his favourite poet Iqbal’s words “They remain slaves because they cannot see what is beautiful.” (pg 40)...
His ability to think on his feet is sharply brought into focus when he alone is able to answer the inspector’s questions. His ability to recall things he has seen, read and overheard and his intuition about the way they fit into the scheme of things is what is appreciated by the inspector who sees a bright future for the village lad. Balram calls himself a “half baked fellow’’ because he has only a few years of schooling, and further adds that “entrepreneurs are made from half baked clay.” (pg 11) Balram Halwai’s ability to take life as it comes and seize opportunity whenever it arises is amply displayed as he eavesdrops on conversations at the teashops where he is forced to work, and uses the scraps of knowledge thus gained to educate himself on the goings on in the world around him. He puts it very succinctly when he says “I am a man of action and change”. Overhearing that drivers were paid well and they were required in large numbers in the coal mining town of Dhanbad where he works in a teashop, the boy cajoled his granny into giving him the money he needed to learn how to drive a car. Although he knew that the driver who taught him was taking advantage of him and making him spend a lot of his time doing free repair jobs on taxis; he stuck to his resolve to learn driving and mastered it. Having mastered driving skills was only a beginning, he had to get a driver’s job in an environment where merit was no criterion. Caught up as he is, in the morass of corruption, inequality and poverty, he bides his time and waits for the right opening to press home the advantage. Knowing the right people and greasing the right palms was how one got a job, and the poor lad was a nobody and had no help in that department. His intuition and ability ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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