Balram Halwai/“The White Tiger”

The narrator of The White Tiger, Balram Halwai is an Indian entrepreneur who prides himself on having risen above his meager beginnings by means of his own ingenuity. Balram presents himself as an honest fellow who never attempts to hide the fact that he is a murderer. Balram admits this to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao when he begins his letter, and throughout his story, Balram justifies his actions by detailing the ugly side of India. Until the very end, Balram proclaims his loyalty to his master, Mr. Ashok. This all changes when Balram realizes that Mr. Ashok is just like his family—Mr. Ashok and the Mongoose scold Balram for offering a street beggar a single rupee. Balram finds this ironic because the brothers routinely bribe government officials to get out of paying their share of taxes. Hurt by this display of snobbery, Balram begins plotting to murder Mr. Ashok.

Aidga uses Balram’s transformation over the course of The White Tiger to criticize the new India. For all its economic prosperity that is showcased to Western media, India remains a country of deep-seated class and social divisions. As Balram interacts with Mr. Ashok, Adiga reveals how helpless the wealthy are to combat the inequalities and corruptions that plague India. Ultimately, Mr. Ashok dies at Balram’s hands, and Balram finds that he is able to become prosperous. Balram is a complicated, ambiguous hero whose journey reveals the complexity that lies beneath the surface of the new India.

Mr. Ashok

The elder son of Thakur Ramdev (the Stork), Mr. Ashok becomes Balram’s employer after Balram moves to Delhi and finds work with the Ramdev family. Ashok has recently returned to India from America with his wife, Pinky Madam, and the couple is given the Honda City as transportation to conduct their business. The couple’s marriage is somewhat controversial because they...

(The entire section is 769 words.)