Poor-Rich Divide in Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger

Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences 01/2009;
Source: DOAJ


Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, which was awarded theMan Booker Prize in 2008, is singular in its fictionalized portrayal of the relationship between Balram Halwai and his master Mr Ashok. The story exposes the poor-rich divide that surrounds India in the backdrop of economic prosperity, in the wake of the IT revolution. As Michael Portillo commented the novel “shocked and entertained in equal measure” (Portillo, 2008). Written in the epistolary form, the novel is a seven-part letter to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, from Balram alias Ashok Sharma, a self-styled ‘Thinking Man / And an entrepreneur’ (TWT, 2008, p. 3). Balram the killer, metamorphoses into his master’s replica after his heinous crime. By crime and cunning, in the name of the social injustice due to existing rich-poor divide in India, Balram rules his entrepreneurial world. This paper attempts to trace the great poor-rich divide manifested through The White Tiger, having dangerous consequences, if unresolved.

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    • "However, both of them got ethically degenerated in Delhi under the incessant pressure of the depraved social and political forces. In spite of their noble intentions, it was the corrupt socio-political machinery that had perverted people like Balram and Ashok (Sebastian, 2009, p. 244). Although getting degenerated morally, Balram had not given up his struggle to become an independent, free person. "

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    ABSTRACT: Aravind Adiga’s Booker prize-winning novel The White Tiger (2008) deals with the changing status of the highly disputed, so-called “subaltern self”. As a socio-historically entrenched notion, one may contend, the “subaltern self” is as much prescribed as inscribed in, and transcribed by, human and urban geographies, which have been currently dubbed the “New India” and the “New Metropolis”. This essay focuses on Adiga’s fresh attempt to aesthetically represent an alternative concept of ethnic identity formation. The following analysis will thus proceed on the assumption that the novel’s conflicted urban domains primarily function as contested imaginary and/or imagined sites for the fashioning of the entrepreneur as a new, precarious key figure, shaping what has been felicitously labelled the “condition-of-India novel”.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of Postcolonial Writing