The White Tiger

The complex use of symbolism within Adiga's social critique, 'The White Tiger' 12th Grade

In his novel ‘The White Tiger’, Avarind Adiga explores the corruption and extreme poverty that plague modern India. Through an allegorical depiction of the enormous divide between rich and poor, Adiga condemns the oppression and hopelessness endured by the lower classes. Furthermore, illustrating the multitude of obstacles to the empowerment of the poor, Adiga suggests that the emergence of class consciousness is of greatest importance in allowing individuals to escape the ‘Rooster Coop’. Adiga presents Balram’s entrepreneurial journey as evidence of the capacity for members of the lower classes to ultimately craft their own identity, symbolically emphasising his success in earning himself a place in the Light.

Through a symbolic representation of the hardships endured by India’s poor and the exploitative behaviour of the upper classes, Adiga condemns the social structure of New India, which facilitates such pervasive inequality. In the early pages of his epistolary novel, Adiga includes an evocative description of the funeral of Balram’s mother, whose corpse is burned and abandoned to the “black mud” of the Ganga River. Adiga establishes the repugnant river as a symbol of the hopelessness endured by those in the Darkness,...

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