What do we get from "The Tiger in the Tunnel" regarding man's struggle to survive?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The struggle to survive underscores Bond's short story. For example, it is clear that Baldeo and his family struggle to survive from an economic standpoint: "Their small rice fields did not provide them with more than a bare living and Baldeo considered himself lucky to have got the job of Khalasi at this small wayside signal stop."  Bond shows that human existence is a struggle to survive in terms of wealth accumulation. It is this very struggle that leads Baldeo to take the job at the railway station.

This particular job creates another struggle to survive.  When Baldeo encounters the tiger, there is a struggle for survival:

Before a minute had passed he made out the huge body of the tiger trotting steadily towards him. Its eyes shone a brilliant green in the light from the signal lamp. Flight was useless, for in the dark the tiger would be more sure-footed than Baldeo and would soon be upon him from behind.

Bond shows that the human struggle to survive is a part of the natural world, as well as the human constructed one.   At the instant of conflict, the tiger and Baldeo are immersed in a natural struggle to survive. Their moment is reflective of a natural world where there is a cruel fight for existence.  There is not a sense of mutual co-dependence in this vision.  Rather, the struggle to survive is one where it is "kill or be killed."  Baldeo realizes this as does the tiger at the moment of decision. It is here where Bond is able to develop how the struggle to survive is an essential part of being, something that influences Tembu in his struggle to survive, one that takes up his father's cause and sees it to its natural consequence.