Identity and freedom

The theme of identity dominates the extract from the novel The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. This theme is mainly illustrated through Balram, the main character, who underwent a change of identity when he killed his former boss and ran away with his money.

From the beginning, Balram differentiates between himself – the White Tiger – and other Indians living in poverty – those from the Rooster Coop of oppressed Indian society. Although he acknowledges that he once had the identity of the servant, he is proud that he has managed to overcome his condition: “All I wanted was the chance to be a man – and for that, one murder was enough” (p. 294, ll. 3-4).

When he talks about his former identity as a servant, Balram is ironic and, at times, angry at the blind obedience of Indians – and of the system that keeps them oppressed: “The trustworthiness of servants is t...

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