Physical setting

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga takes place in modern-day India. Specifically, Bangalore is the focus of the second excerpt of the story.

Balram runs his driving company in Bangalore and focuses on how the city looks at the moment of the narration. Balram describes a city under construction, “masked in smoke, smog, powder, cement dust” (p. 293, l. 28). Balram also refers to past events such as the murder he committed, and talks about the school he plans to build in the future. Also, even though the city seems to be developing with the help of modern buildings and companies (p. 293, ll. 23-26), Balram is aware that things might go either way in the future:

When the veil is lifted, what will Bangalore be like? Maybe it will be a disaster: slums, sewage, shopping malls, traffic jams, policemen. But you never know. It may turn out to be a decent city, where humans can live like humans and animals can live like animals. A new Bangalore for a new India. (p. 293, ll. 28-33)

This highlights Balram’s point that the apparent economic success of India is based on an oppressive system. In this system, the vast majority of the population is stuck in a cycle of pov...

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