The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga Quotes Linked to Themes

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For VCE Year 12 Mainstream English students, The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is a text from List 1 of VCAA texts.

You will be required to write an analytical interpretation of The White Tiger in AOS1: Unit 3 Reading and Creating Texts.

Look carefully at these quotes below and the themes that interlink in each chapter of The White Tiger.  You can use these quotes related to the themes in your analytical essay text response.

Themes in The White Tiger

Themes overlap = education / self made man / self improvement / morality / Indian society / family / social breakdown / self interest / corruption / power dynamics / contrasts

Chapter 1            1st Night

Theme                  education / self improvement

“I am self taught entrepreneur”

Theme                  self made man / education / self improvement

“The story of my upbringing is the story of how a half-baked fellow is produced. But pay attention, Mr. Premier! Fully formed fellows, after twelve years of school and three years of university, wear nice suits, join companies, and take orders from other men for the rest of their lives. Entrepreneurs are made from half-baked clay.”

Theme                  self made man / education / morality / Indian society

“You, young man, are an intelligent, honest, vivacious fellow in this crowd of thugs and idiots. In any jungle, what is the rarest of animals—the creature that comes along only once in a generation?” “The white tiger”.  “That’s what you are, in this jungle.”

Theme                  education / morality / Indian society

“They remain slaves because they can’t see what is beautiful in this world.”

Chapter 2            2nd Night

Theme                  family

“You know how close they are to their families in the Darkness”

Theme                  self made man / education / self improvement

“That’s the one good thing I’ll say for myself, I’ve always been a big believer in education – especially my own”.

“Many of my best ideas are, in fact, borrowed from my ex-employer or his brother or someone else whom I was driving about. (I confess, Mr. Premier: I am not an original thinker—but I am an original listener.)

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption

“Stories of rottenness and corruption are always the best stories, aren’t they?”

 

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“See, this country, in its days of greatness, when it was the richest nation on earth, was like a zoo… the day the British left—the cages had been let open; and the animals had attacked and ripped each other apart and jungle law replaced zoo law.”

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“To sum up—in the old days there were one thousand castes and destinies in India. These days, there are just two castes: Men with Big Bellies, and Men with Small Bellies. And only two destinies: eat—or get eaten up.”

Theme                  self made man/ education

“I absorbed everything—that’s the amazing thing about entrepreneurs. We are like sponges—we absorb and grow.”

Theme                  morality / Indian society

“The Devil, according to the Muslims, was once God’s sidekick, until he fought with Him and went freelance.”

Theme                  power dynamics

“Is there any hatred on earth like the hatred of the number two servant for the number one?”

Chapter 3            4th Morning

Theme                  corruption / self interest / power dynamics

“Now the Great Socialist had been the boss of the Darkness for a decade at the time of this election.  … he was dirty from the start, but he had just fooled everyone and only now did we see him for what he was”.

Chapter 4            4th Night

Theme                  contrasts

“The capital of our glorious nation … The showcase of the republic.  That’s what they call it … the truth is that Delhi is a crazy city”

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“We’re driving past Ghandi, after just having given a bribe to a minister. It’s a fucking joke ,isn’t it.”

“The judges? … they are in the racket too.  They take their bribe, they ignore the discrepancies in the case.  And life goes on”.

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / family

“We were like two separate cities—inside and outside the dark egg. I knew I was in the right city. But my father, if he were alive, would be sitting on that pavement… So I was in some way out of the car too, even while I was driving it.”

Theme                  family

“You’re part of the family Balram”.

Chapter 5            5th Night

Theme                  power dynamics

“Do we loath our masters behind a facade of love – or do we love them behind a facade of loathing?”

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption

“The greatest thing to come out of this country… is the Rooster Coop. The roosters in the coop smell the blood from above. They see the organs of their brothers…They know they’re next. Yet they do not rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop. The very same thing is done with human beings in this country.”

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“… But where my genuine concern for him ended and where my self-interest began, I could not tell: no servant can ever tell what the motives of his heart are… We are made mysteries to ourselves by the Rooster Coop we are locked in.”

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“The Rooster Coop was doing its work. Servants have to keep other servants from becoming innovators, experimenters, or entrepreneurs. Yes, that’s the sad truth, Mr. Premier. The coop is guarded from the inside.”

Theme                  family

“   the pride and glory of our nation, the repository of all our love and sacrifice … the Indian family, is the reason we are trapped and tied to the coop”.

“…without family, a man is nothing”.

Chapter 6            6th Morning

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“The rest of today’s narrative will deal mainly with the sorrowful tale of how I was corrupted from a sweet, innocent village fool into a citified fellow full of debauchery, depravity and wickedness, All these changes happened in me because they happened first in Mr. Ashok.”

Chapter 7            6th Night

Theme                  contrasts

“The dreams of the rich, and the dreams of the poor – they never overlap, do they?”

“Enough to feed a whole family, or one rich man”

Theme                  education / self improvement

“The moment you recognise what is beautiful in this world, you stop being a slave”.

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption

“The city knew my secret… Even the road—the smooth, polished road of Delhi that is the finest in all of India—knew my secret.”

Theme                  education / morality / Indian society

“You were looking for the key for years/ But the door was always open!”

Theme                  morality / Indian society

“Let animals live like animals; let humans live like humans. That’s my whole philosophy in a sentence.”

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“We went from bank to bank, and the weight of the red bag grew. I felt its pressure increase on my lower back—as if I were taking Mr. Ashok and his bag not in a car, but the way my father would take a customer and his bag—in a rickshaw.”

Chapter 8            7th Night

Theme                  self made man/ education

“Now, despite my amazing success story, I don’t want to lose contact with the place where I got my real education in life. The road and the pavement.”

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“The city has its share of thugs and politicians. It’s just that here, if a man wants to be good, he can be good. In Laxmangarh, he doesn’t even have this choice. This is the difference between this India and that India; the choice.”

“… the worst kind of man … nothing in his mind but taking money from everyone who came to his office.  Scum”.

Theme                  social breakdown / self interest / corruption

“There is no end to things in India, Mr. Jiabao, as Mr. Ashok so correctly used to say. You’ll have to keep paying and paying the fuckers. But I complain about the police the way the rich complain; not the way the poor complain.”

Theme                  self made man / social breakdown / self interest / corruption / morality / Indian society

“Yet…even if they throw me in jail…I’ll say it was all worthwhile to know, just for a day, just for an hours, just for a minute, what it means not to be a servant. I think I am ready to have children, Mr. Premier.”

Theme                  self made man / education

“People in this country are still waiting for the war of their freedom to come from somewhere else…That will never happen. Every man must make his own Benaras. The book of your revolution sits in the pit of your belly, young Indian. Crap it out, and read.”