Similar to imprints on sand or carvings in wood, character is moulded and developed by indents - through pain and suffrage. In the novel, The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga explores the dark realities of India’s caste system with a story of a man who broke through the division. The quote by Helen Keller, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved,” is seen through Balram’s journey as he overcomes obstacles to achieve his success. Adiga illustrates that one cannot see true light of a strong soul, inspired ambition and success, without the struggles of being in true darkness and the disadvantages that come along with it.
Balram Halwai is raised in the lower-social caste town of Laxmangarh, India, where he is forced to deal with indignities caused by his family’s poverty. Balram witness’s the death of both of his parents, from illnesses in both of which could have been cured had he been in a higher-caste system of society. His father, Vikram Halwai, died of mistreated tuberculosis. Balram exclaims the ignorance of the government as they failed to appropriately care for his father’s condition and death:
The ward boys made us clean up our Father before we could remove the body. A goat came in and sniffed as we 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.
The lack of care exhibited by the hospital emphasizes the harsh reality of just how terrible life is for the impoverished in India. Balram spoke in high honor of his father and mentions that his father “never crouched,” like the servants were expected to on his job - that he “preferred to stand” (Adiga 20). A life of a man that Balram respected and loved, a life that protected him against his worst fear of lizards, and taught him how...