The White Tiger

Topics: Caste system in India, Caste, India Pages: 3 (1033 words) Published: September 7, 2014
Andrew Spiegel

Similar to carvings in wood, character is molded by indents- through pain and suffrage. This notion is evident in Aravind Adiga's novel, The White Tiger, in which Balram Halwaii seeks to create his own destiny. Having no role models within his family to help to guide him along his fated path, Balram quickly becomes determined to free himself of the corruptness embedded in India's system. In order to escape, however, he must be ambitious, risky, and even unethical. Balram must face and overcome the dark realities of his caste if he ever wants to taste freedom. Due to the circumstances of being raised without true parents, and living within a city of corruptness allow Balram's actions throughout the novel, though some unethical, to be justified.

Balram is raised in the lower-social caste town of Laxmangrah. He witnesses the death of both his parents, from diseases in both of which could have been cured had they been members of a high-caste. Balram's father, Vikram, succumbed to tuberculosis. While at the deserted hospital, Balram learns of the ignorance of India's government as they failed to care for his father's condition and illness. "The way boys made us clean up our Father before we could remove the body. A goat came in and sniffed as were mopping the blood off the floor. The ward boys petter her and fed her a plump carrot as we mopped our father's infected blood off the floor." (42). The horrific death of Vikram emphasizes the dark reality of the caste system Balram is caged in. An innocent life lost that Balram always respected and admired, a life that protected him from his fear of lizards, and taught him to always have pride in everything he does, is now the same exact life that had to be mopped off the dirty floor by his very own son. The abandonment of life in India numbed Balram as a boy, and who could blame him. He quickly realizes following his father's death that he lives in a dog-eat-dog society and home. Everyone is out there...
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