The White Tiger

Flying the Coop: An Examination of Slavery in India College

Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger is a satirical novel in the form of an email from Balram Halwai to the Chinese Premier, focusing on Balram’s life as a servant. Balram’s objective is to explain the way the Indian social system is organized. “Mr. Jiabao. Sir,” writes Balram:

Go to Old Delhi, behind the Jama Masjid, and look at the way they keep chickens there in the market… The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above. They see the organs of their brothers lying around them. They know they’re next. Yet they do not rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop. The very same thing is done with human beings in this country. (Adiga 147)

This is Balram’s explanation of the “basis of the entire Indian economy ” (Adiga 149). His detailed description does not leave much room for interpretation upon the lives of servants; they are trapped within the system they have been born into. His comparison to a rooster coop is incredibly purposeful in that it conveys the pervasive nature of this system, and the complacency it creates in the servants, or “chickens,” caught within the system.

Attia Hosain’s Sunlight on a Broken Column is similar in that it also focuses on the life of a family and their servants. At the end of the novel,...

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