One of the major themes in The White Tiger is the complexity beneath national progress. Balram narrates the story from a time when financial and industrial progress sweeps India, but while rich men get even richer and technological advances take over the country, poverty still lines the streets. When Balram becomes the driver for Mr. Ashok, he is privy to the business conversations that occur in the backseat between Mr. Ashok and his brother, the Mongoose. Balram soon learns that the family deals in bribery to run their business, and the family's success is a microcosm for what is happening in the country at large. Balram understands that as long as he continues to work for such a family, he will forever remain in a lowly position. This is in part what makes him long to become an entrepreneur. Ironically, Balram's success comes as the result of murder, and he enters into the cycle of complexity that leads to progress.