Review of White Tiger by Aravind Aduga

Book Reviews

Desperate for Success
by Jennifer Smith

In the novel, The White Tiger, by Aravind Aduga, the protagonist Balram is wanted for murdering Mr. Ashok, his boss. However, he does not live a life of guilt for his actions but instead feels proud and accomplished. According to the text, “About three years ago, when I became, briefly, a person of national importance owing to an act of entrepreneurship, a poster with my face on it found its way to every post office, railway station, and police station in this country” (9). The poster that he refers to in this quote is a wanted advertisement for committing the murder of his boss. He describes himself as the highest-ranking entrepreneur and a person of great importance. An entrepreneur is someone who is usually self-motivated, successful, wealthy, and manages his or her own business. Balram is recognized for many of these attributes, such as being wealthy and getting noticed through his own work, but for the wrong reasons. His face resides on posters throughout the country only because he is a murderer. A contributing factor that led up to him committing this murder was his yearn for attention and to become a well-known entrepreneur.
Balram also wanted to experience a sense of power and superiority over his boss. The murder gives him another reason to brag about his success to others. In the novel he stated, “Oh, I could go on and on about myself, sir. I could gloat that I am not just any murderer, but one who killed his own employer (who is a kind of second father), and also contributed to the probable death of all his family members” (37). According to Balram, there is a difference between murdering an average person whom one may see on the street and murdering your boss. This separates him from other murderers and somehow makes him predominant, because he had the power to kill someone who once had power over him. Also, he boasts of the experience and does not show any shame in what he has done. He accepts his negative image and believes it to work to his advantage. He adds, “Here’s a strange fact: murder a man, and you feel responsible for his life-possessive, even. You know more about him than his father and mother: they knew his fetus, but you know his corpse” (38). He believes that now that he has killed his boss, he is in control and is the new master. He respected his boss before the crime, for he himself was very successful. Since Balram states that murdering a man will cause one to know more about that man than anyone else that was in his life, he may have wanted to understand more of Mr. Ashok’s success. This way he would rise to the top as the better entrepreneur since he has overcome the power and restraints of his boss.
Balram would believe that this justifies his action because it puts himself in a better position for success and to be the best entrepreneur there is. He has gotten himself noticed, and now he can be recognized from his face on his wanted poster. He believes that this will help his business and provide him with experience and power to push himself forward as a strong businessman.

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