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The White Tiger And Urban Life In India The White Tiger (2008) By Aravind Adiga

2602 words - 10 pages

It is very common these days to see an article in the paper or documentary on television about India on a weekly basis. Many people seem amazed at how a third world country like India can almost become an economic power or even have an economy to begin with. Many credit this to the greatness of the Free Market.Today, India seems to have become the call center for the world. It seems that every time one makes a call to a major company for support, they are greeted by someone in India, particularly in Mumbai or Bangalore. However, even with this increase of dependency on workers in India, there are still major inequalities that are present in Indian society.In his book The White Tiger (2008) by Aravind Adiga, we learn that although India may have gained independence in the 1940s from the British, many still live in servitude and poverty today. We also learn about the conditions that many of India's working class live in, including the slums, the lack of running water, electricity and a working sewage system. We learn that the majority of people work servant jobs or jobs that in first world countries don't even exist. In the novel, Balram, the main character starts with the story of how his father who worked as a rickshaw puller and his whole family lived in poverty paying part of what they made through hard labour to a landlord who controlled what they did and the land they lived on. Many of the young boys are not educated or are enrolled in school for two or three years until they are forced into the workforce in order to make enough money to help support their families.We learn of Balram's life story through seven letters that he writes to the Chinese premiere who is scheduled to make a visit to India. Balram's story is one of hardship, poverty and servitude. He goes from working in a teashop as a "human spider" mopping floors and cleaning after customers, to becoming a driver and servant for a rich family. He pays hard earned money in order to learn how to drive, only to learn that a job as a driver to a rich family does not stop there. He has to play many roles such as cook, housekeeper, and whatever else the family asks of him. Balram learns a key lesson when he finds himself blackmailing other servants he works with in order to be picked as the driver who will move with his master to the city and ultimately gain a pay raise. Once in the city, Balram's eyes are opened to the reality of life in India and that to make it as anybody in society, you need to grease and bribe many hands. Throughout the story, Balram is the perfect servant, obeying his master and being loyal to his master's every wish. The reader is forced to watch and endure as Balram faces one humiliation after another and takes it because he is loyal to his master. He also describes a syndrome which he names the 'Rooster Coop Syndrome' where the poor never breakout and rebel, demanding fair treatment or even threatening to go to the police with many of the illegal actions that...

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