Behind the Beautiful Forevers

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Brett Potter
HST 104 Section 002
Yixin Chen
27 November 2012
The Poverty of Annawadi as seen in Behind the Beautiful Forevers
The city of Mumbai has seen much growth in the past years. A string of elegant hotels have been set up for travelers and high-class business men. An ever growing, top of the line airport has been built for those coming in and out of the country. From the outside, Mumbai seems to have taken a liking to being internationally integrated with the rest of world, otherwise known as globalization. This is not the case, however; as seen in Katherine Boo’s novel Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. This novel is set in a slum right next to the Mumbai International Airport called Annawadi. It focuses mainly on the life and story of the stories main character. Abdul Husein and his family make a living by selling scrap metal tossed out by the upper class of Mumbai. When looking at Abdul’s story, one can see the corruption that made it near impossible for globalization to have a positive effect on Annawadi. Abdul’s relationship with his neighbor, the unstable, one-legged Fatima, also shows how neighborhood relationships were a hindrance to Annawadi’s ability to be a part of Mumbai’s globalization.

Before examining the reasons for Annawadi’s lack of effects from globalization, one must look at some of the reasons as to why Annawadi faces the alarming amount of poverty that it does. In the novel, Boo writes “What you don't want is always going to be with you. What you want is never going to be with you. Where you don't want to go, you have to go. And the moment you think you're going to live more, you're going to die” (Page 32). This quote shows how harsh it is in the slum of Annawadi. Having the misfortune of being born there makes it almost impossible to find fortune in life. More then likely, one who is born in Annawadi will remain in poverty for their entire lives. There are many reasons for this,...
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