Friday, April 6, 2012

“Depiction of the Poor-Rich conflict in Aravind Adiga’s‘The White Tiger’”

Siddharth G. Desai
Roll no. - 07
Paper no.E-C-401
Year – 2012
Topic: “Depiction of the Poor-Rich conflict in Aravind Adiga’s‘The White Tiger’”

Submitted to Dr. Dilip Barad
Department of English,
Bhavnagar University.

The class-consciousness is an old concept that still exists in the Indian society. The situation of this class-consciousness is somewhat different than it was in the past days of India. Earlier, there were four classes in the Indian society which are as follows: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Brahmins were supposed to teach people in the society. Kshatriyas’work was to protect people from the danger. The role of Merchant was used to do by Vaishyas and at last the menial tasks were done by the Shudras. This division of classes is also known as Casteism. Casteism is a hazardous problem in India. People inn country like, India are still class-conscious in their life. Nowadays, there are three main classes that exist in Indian society. They are the Rich, the Middle-class and the Poor. The aforementioned last classes suffer a lot in their life than the Rich because they want the life that the Rich lives or have.

Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger depicts the Poor-Rich conflict which has been discussed widely as a major thematic concern. Moreover, this debut novel of Adiga has got the Man Booker Prize, which shows also the Master-slave relationship along with this Poor-Rich conflict. Adiga says,

“The servant-master system implies two things: one is that the servants are far poorer than the rich- a servant has no possibility of ever catching up to the master. And secondly, he has access to the master- the master’s money, the master’s physical person. Yet crime rates in India are very low. Even though the middle class- who often have three or four servants – are paranoid about crime, the reality is master getting killed by his servants is rare… You need two things [for crime to occur] - a divide and a conscious ideology of resentment. We don’t have resentment in India. The poor just assume that the rich are a fact of life… But I think we’re seeing what I believe is a class based resentment for the first time.”

(Sebastain, 229)

The aforementioned quotation talks about the servant-master condition in India. The poor’s desire to reach at the level of the master or we can say that very keen desire to become the master. The relationship of Balram Halwai and Mr. Ashok as a servant-master relationship represents the conflict between Poor and Rich in India. How a poor is exploited or sucked by the rich that is what Adiga has tried to show in The White Tiger. Along with this he has depicted the rebellious spirit of the poor against the master by showcasing the murderous act of Balram. A servant splits his master’s throat mercilessly for becoming the master. This vicious act of Balram arises the feelings of terror and fear.

Balram satirizes on the poor’s condition and way of living. He says,

“They remain slaves because they can’t see what is beautiful in this world.”

(Adiga, 40)

The abovementioned quotation shows the mentality of the poor on which Balram bitterly criticizes. If the poor would become rich, their poor mentality will remain within themselves. They never think beyond the constructed ideas. Whereas Balram Halwai is the White Tiger a species that comes once in a generation and he comes out of the cage and fights with the circumstances and achieves the level of the master. For him, no matter how he achieves. Balram is altogether different from the other poor people. He does not like to walk on the path on which the other are walking but he has created his own path to accomplish the st5atus as the Master.

Works Cited
Adiga, Aravind. The White Tiger. Harper Collins Pub. India: 2008. Print.

Sebastian, A. J. “Poor-Rich Divide in Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger”. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Science. Vol.1, No.2. 2009. 229-245. PDF file.


  1. Hi! Siddharth,
    You have written well about the topic the Depiction of the Poor-Rich conflict in 'The White Tiger.' You have depicted the servant master system and with the help of it I can understand the idea about your topic. Here you have also taken a line from 'The White Tiger' like “They remain slaves because they can’t see what is beautiful in this world” this line is very helpful to understand the topic. You have done Works Cited that is your bonus point.

  2. Nice attempt by taking the topic "Poor-Rich conflict in The White Tiger by Adiga where he also talks about Poor people's upliftment from the poor condition but very unethically. E.g. Balram. But my question is, Cannot poor people who are now rich, think like rich people? They have all what the rich people had. But what makes them poor again?