Darkness and Light

Darkness is not only a euphemism for poverty or for ignorance, it becomes its own entity.  When Adiga talks about the Darkness, he is talking about many things at once. He is talking about a region, a people, an ideology, a problem. Most specifically and most poignantly, when he talks about the darkness he is talking about lack of education and ignorance.

Balram escapes his village, the darkness as region, but he does not escape the ideology of darkness. He remains in the shadows. As the ‘white tiger’ Balram is intelligent and throughout the narrative is always desiring to learn more. When he starts to pull himself out of the ideology of darkness we as readers see a stronger pull out of ignorance.

In one conversation with the Premier, Balram makes a very brief quip about the supposed  danger of those consumed in darkness being brought to the light of education. “It’s when your driver starts to read about Gandhi and the Buddha that it’s time to wet your pants,” (Adiga 123). If the poor and the spat upon start thinking for themselves and feeling empowered, then those in power will fear for their lives. Adiga seems to suggest the improbability along with this statement. The idea of drivers collectively starting to read for education and not for entertainment seems out of the question with the characters painted in this novel.

When Balram is around books he describes it as that, “[…] your brain starts to hum” (206).  It is interesting, and not to be taken lightly, that this is a book that puts a lot of importance on reading. Through his satire,  Adiga is enlightening us as readers, both to the darkness in India, but more importantly to the darkness in us as well. We are none of us, so far away from ignorance as we think. There will always be things that we do not know, and political powers we cannot fight, but the more we read and write, the more light there will be.

Adiga, Aravind. The White Tiger. London: Atlantic, 2008. Print.


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