How does setting develop theme in The White Tiger?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The way in which Delhi is described and depicted in this masterful novel stresses the way in which the progress that is associated with modern nations such as India actually is far more complex and nuanced than intial assumptions would make us think. The way in which the text stresses the power and strength of "new India" is obvious from the descriptions of Mr. Ashok and his various business associates and involvements. However, this veneer of prosperity and economic growth covers up a reality of desperate poverty that is juxtaposed with wealth and prosperity.

Apart from the obvious way in which the pollution and urban poverty of so many Indians in Delhi is juxtaposed with the wealth of people such as Mr. Ashok and the President, you might like to think about how the novel contrasts the birthing of India through the noble and good actions of Mahatma Gandhi with the bribery and corruption that characterises modern India. This is emphasised particularly when Mr. Ashok and Balram return from a trip where Mr. Ashok has bribed officials to gain success and they pass a billboard with a picture of Gandhi on it. At various points in the novel, Balram tells us of the corruption that penetrates all levels of the government and the police. Although the "new India" is presented as if it were a democratic nation, this text pierces this exterior view to present an entirely different view of India: a country that depends on bribery and which favours the rich.


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