The cast system seems to be a recurring theme in the novel so far. Balram is trying to make something of himself by breaking his societal norms — what is expected of him — because of his caste. His Kusum wants him to marry because that’s what men in their caste do in order to get money. He refuses this role, thereby refuting what is expected of him because of who he is. He calls himself an entrepreneur many times, but so far I have yet to see him actually become an entrepreneurial man. He eludes to working in a call-center, but we don’t know how he achieved that just yet.
I found a little information on how the caste system in India works. There is no mention of political figures on any of the diagrams I came across, despite their prominence in the novel.
A great majority of the people in India are uneducated, yet they seem to serve as the minority in an odd way. Balram describes the countless number of servants he comes across every day in Delhi, yet they are ruled by a select few.
The amount of uneducated people illustrates that there needs to be a change in the educational system in India. Children, much like Balram when he was a child, were taken out of school in order to work to bring in money for their family. It’s very hard to break out of your caste when you have a limited education. Most children’s education doesn’t reach beyond elementary school.
As we continue to read on in the novel, it will be interesting to see how Balram, who is constantly berated for his lack of education by not only his master but by other servants as well, will break out of his caste. He states right in the beginning that he is a murderer, but it will be interesting to see how he actually gets to that point. We see the resentment towards his master growing as the novel progresses.
Thoughts based on the novel:
Adiga, Aravind. The White Tiger, A Novel. New York: Free Press, 2008. Print.
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