The White Tiger

Light and Darkness in The White Tiger 12th Grade

Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger explores the contrasting threads of corruption and morality in Indian society, exposing the depravity and exploitation that pervade the modern state. Juxtaposing the incommensurate worlds of “Light” and “Darkness”, Adiga demonstrates that in a society of only “two castes”, decency and prosperity are unable to coexist. The oppression of the land where the “black river” flows is shown to provide few opportunities for a life of morality, whilst the larger web of societal corruption is depicted as being integral to the achievements of the “men with big bellies”. Adiga ultimately demonstrates that once success has been found, morality becomes a choice, rather than a luxury.

Describing a rural populous in anything but “paradise”, Adiga suggests that the bleak lives of those in India’s Darkness demand a sacrifice of integrity in order to ensure survival. As narrator Balram Halwai describes the “defunct” resources and support systems of his home in Laxmangarh, Adiga illustrates the hopelessness of a people with “nothing left…to feed on”. Just as Balram struggles to extricate himself from the “millipede” of his sleeping cousins, liberation from the Darkness is deemed impossible. Adiga utilises the...

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