“Go to Old Delhi, and look at the way they keep chickens there in the market. Hundreds of pale hens and brightly colored roosters, stuffed tightly into wire-mesh cages. They see the organs of their brothers lying around them. They know they are next, yet they cannot rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop. The very same thing is done with humans in this country.”
― Aravind Adiga
One of the best things about literature classes is that they offer you the opportunity to read novels that you never would have otherwise. One of the pieces that we were assigned in my comparative literature class was The White Tiger. I enjoyed it because it provided a compelling glimpse into Indian society, a culture that I admit to not being very knowledgeable of. I believe that it is critical to read about other cultures because it allows us to not only learn about the differences between them and us, but also the similarities.The caste system in India and the American cycle of poverty accomplish the exact same thing–both perpetually trap individuals in a state of mental and physical desperation; such subjugation may drive people to do things that they would never have fathomed themselves capable of.
Per Amazon.com, “The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society”.
To read an extended summary of The White Tiger, click here.