The White Tiger is the rare persona of a flaming ferocity that is ignited within the main character, Balram, despite the omnipresence of the jungle of Indian life. Balram is a man who is possessed with a resilient idea within his mind- that he must escape the Darkness. The way I see it, it’s as if he has decided that he is going to succeed in this world, despite what society sees him as, and there are some sacrifices that must be made along the way. In his life, he progresses from an oppressed lifestyle in the Darkness to hiding in plain sight in the Light.
By being forced by living in the so-called “rooster coop,” the caste system grabs a hold of Balram the moment he is born, and attempts to hold on forever. The only way he can be free of this imprisonment is for him to become tiger. A tiger is an incredible creature. At a given moment it can be nurturing towards its cubs while the violent character within remains dormant. Balram is just like this, and the thing that separates him from other “roosters” is that he has a keen sense of how to behave in certain situations. As he says, “You see, I’m always a man who sees ‘tomorrow’ when others see ‘today’ (p. 274).” He has kept his ears open to the worlds around him, providing him with insight into the ins and outs of life. The two most important things he has are his will to succeed and his knowledge, which he is always open to expand, and these both supply him with the ability to move up in the world.
I don’t believe Balram is a normal man, but I also don’t believe he is a psychopath. Although he was driven to kill his master, I feel that labeling him a murderer is a little inaccurate. Balram doesn’t just live in another culture, he lives in a different world. What is acceptable in this culture as opposed to the one we have in America? Killing someone the way he did was wrong because there wasn’t a need to. But even a tiger will kill to survive.
To sum up Balram, there would need to be many adjectives, although it is difficult to define someone so unique. He can be ruthless, such as murdering his master and risking the lives of his family, and he can be compassionate, such as going back to save his cousin from danger. We see through his thought process that he indeed does have some regrets about killing Mr. Ashok especially when he says “But I do think about him a lot- and, believe it or not, I do miss him. He didn’t deserve his fate. I should have cut the Mongoose’s neck (p. 272).”
I would say that the older and more experienced that Balram gets, he loses part of Balram and becomes more of the White Tiger. He has grown throughout the novel, especially when he realizes that the future can be more of a place where “humans can live like humans and animals can live like animals (p. 273).” But I still wouldn’t turn my back on the ferocious White Tiger.