Balram frequently discusses the issues of social mobility in the new social hierarchy of India. Having idolized Vijay from childhood, Balram recognizes the possibility of moving up in the world, but has to confront the reality of such movement throughout his story. One of the big issues is how India's social system has changed. Under the caste system, people's fates were predetermined, but they were happy, believing they belonged somewhere. However, the new social structure promises the possibility of social mobility, but actually only offers two social divisions: the rich and the poor. The poor are kept in an eternal state of subservience and servitude to the rich by the mechanism that Balram dubs "The Rooster Coop." However, they are now more unhappy because there is a possibility of social mobility that nevertheless remains out of their grasp. Balram ultimately finds a way to break from the Rooster Coop, but it requires him to compromise his ethics and personality - he has to kill his master and betray his family. That social mobility is a specter captured only through such difficult means is a comment on the unfortunate reality of a world built more on limitations than possibility.
As Balram progressed through the echelons of the underclass, eventually being hired as a driver for Mr. Ashok and the Stork, he developed a severe resentment against the upper classes, which eventually prompted him to murder Mr. Ashok. He didn't want to be a servant.... he wanted opportunity.