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The White Tiger

Balram and his relationship to Ashok

Lucas S. G.

on 30 July 2014

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Transcript of The White Tiger

Between admiration and hate:
Balram and his relationship to Ashok
Turning Point
• Ashok and the russian prostitute

• The night at the Jangpura hotel ('the one with the big T sign on it')

• “I kept hoping he’d come running out, arms flailing, and screaming, Balram, I was on the verge of making a mistake! Save me – let’s drive away at once!” (p. 187)

• “My heart was bitter that night.” (p. 188)
• suburbs

• poor

• works at a tea shop/driver

• good personality

• simple life (relationships)

• strong personality
• city

• rich

• is an entrepreneur

• bad personality

• complicated life (relationships)

• soft personality
wants to be more like
• have money

• have a good socio-economical situation

• live in the city

• be an entrepreneur
wants to be more like
• have a simpler lifestyle

• don't care about complicated business problems

• don't care about complicated relationships

• “I’m sick of the food I eat, Balram. I’m sick of the life I lead. We rich people, we’ve lost our way, Balram. I want to be a simple man like you, Balram.” (p. 203)
The White Tiger
The White Tiger
• “…the moment I saw his face, I knew: This is the master for me.” (p. 50)

• “And so I saw the room with his eyes; smelled it with his nose; poked it with his fingers - I had already begun to digest my master!” (p. 67 and 68)

• “From the start, sir, there was a way in which I could understand what he wanted to say, the way dogs understand their masters.” (p. 94)

• “When the master’s life is in chaos, so is the servant’s.” (p. 158)

• “The Mongoose put his hand on Mr. Ashok’s shoulder – just the way Kishan had put his hand on my shoulder so many times.” (p. 161)

• “All these changes happened in me because they happened first in Mr. Ashok. He returned from America an innocent man, but life in Delhi corrupted him – and once the master of the Honda City becomes corrupted, how can the driver stay innocent?” (p. 167)

• “Now I understood why the city looked so different – why my beak was getting stiff as I was driving. Because he was horny. And inside that sealed car, master and driver had somehow become one body that night.” (p. 169)
• “I am not just any murderer, but one who killed his own employer (who is kind of a second father)…” (p. 37)

• “…you won’t find me saying one bad thing about him.” (p. 39)

• “I won’t stop protecting his good name. I owe him so much.” (p. 39)

• he respects Ashok deeply

• “…and I caught Mr. Ashok’s eyes looking at me: and in those master’s eyes, I saw the most unexpected emotion. Pity.” (p. 102)

• “Without a word between us, Mr. Ashok and I acted as a team. (…) We slammed the doors together; …” (p. 139)

• “He put a hand on my shoulder, the way he had been touching Pinky Madam’s shoulder earlier in the night.” (p. 140)

• work together as equals

• “Has there ever been a master-servant relationship like this one? He was so powerless, so lost, my heart just had to melt. (...) I forgave him entirely.” (p. 159)

• “I had always known that he was a good man: a cut above me. I pinched my left palm as punishment.” (p. 178)
• “Pinky Madam let out a short, high laugh. I expected such things from her, but not from him - yet he joined in too.” (p. 124, see the entire page)

• “I knew it was a trap, but what could I do? – I answered. They both of them burst into giggles. ‘Say it again Balram.’ They laughed again.” (p. 131)

• Balram starts to think that Ashok isn't as protecting as he thought and he's betraying him

• “If he hadn’t been drunk, he never would have allowed her to treat me like this – I’m sure of that. People were always taking advantage of him. If it were just me and him in that car, nothing bad would ever have happened to either of us.” (p.137)

• “The Honda City … was charging, right at me, as if to plow me over. Behind the wheel I saw Pinky Madam, grinning and howling, while Mr. Ashok, next to her, was smiling. Did I see a wrinkle of worry for my fate on his forehead – did I see his hand reach across and steady the steering wheel so that the car wouldn’t hit me? I like to think so.” (p. 137)

• Balram wants to see only the best side of Ashok, and doesn't want to believe that he would do anything to harm him

• Vitiligo Lips: “Loyal to the last. They don’t make servants like you anymore.” (p. 156) referring to the fact that Balram didn’t tell him about the conflict between Ashok and Pinky Madam

• “I thought he was going to apologize for almost killing me, but he said nothing about it.” (p. 157)

• “Now, I thought I knew Mr. Ashok, sir. But that’s presumption on the part of any servant.” (p. 167)

• “My God, and he a man who was still lawfully married to another woman! I was so furious… “ (p. 177)

• “She was his old lover, you fool – not some pickup!” (p. 178)

• “I looked at Mr. Ashok in the rearview mirror as hard as I could. A whore? That’s for people like me, sir. Are you sure you want this? … But I will defend his honor to my deathbed. They corrupted him.” (p. 185)
Aravind Adiga's
Lucas Sanz Gorostiaga
Eugenio Catulo
• Balram loses every bit of faith he had left for Ashok, he sees his master at the bottom of the social pyramid

• “Don’t talk about him!” (p. 193)

• Balram's judgement is clouded by the hate against his master's change

• “Over the next two weeks, I did things I am still ashamed to admit. I cheated my employer. I siphoned his petrol; I took his car to a corrupt mechanic who billed him for work that was not necessary; and three times, while driving back to Buckingham B, I picked up a paying customer.” (p. 195 and 196)

• “The strangest thing was that each time I looked at the cash I had made by cheating him, instead of guilt, what did I feel? Rage. The more I stole from him, the more I realized how much he had stolen from me.” (p. 196)

• “I am my own master.” (p. 197)

• Balram already embraces the fact the Ashok is no longer his master

• “Balram, why the hell haven’t you turned the music down? Sometimes these people from the Darkness are so stupid.” (p. 229)

• “And you have never before asked me where I was going when I left the house. What has Ms. Uma done to you?” (p. 235)

• “I really didn’t want to do this – I really didn’t want him to think … that I was that kind of murderer – the one that resorts to blackmailing his own master – but he had left me no option…” (p. 243)
Full transcript