The White Tiger

Balram: A product of his environment? 12th Grade

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...

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