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The White Tiger Essay

1043 words - 4 pages

Andrew SpiegelSimilar 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 for himself or herself, and no hero is coming to save Balram from his corrupted society. He thinks back to his encounter with his. "I couldn't stop thinking of Kishan's body. They were eating him alive in there! They would do the same thing to him that they did to father- scoop him out from the inside and leave him weak and helpless until he got tuberculosis and died on the floor of a government hospital…" (74). Balram realizes that the women within his family, especially his grandmother, use the men for endless labor to provide for the family, wearing them down until they look like skeletons. His grandmother's letters of blackmail demanding money from Balram are another example of greediness within the family. Balram realizes that he truly is alone and must fend for himself. No one in his family will help to guide him forward, leaving a young boy helpless. Family members are usually viewed as role...

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