Learning check

1. An overview of the excerpts from The White Tiger

With study aids

  1. Fill in the following grid:




Author, genre, year:



Summary/ keywords (max. 50 words):























Main points:









What aspects of the theme does the text focus on?









Text-related assignment

1. Written assignment: review

Write a review of the excerpts you have read. Pretend that your review is for a magazine for young people who are interested in politics. Your language must therefore be youthful and colloquial (150 words).


Wider contexts

1. Critical context: reception: The Man Booker Prize

Read the following comments from the announcement of the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2008:


“Michael Portillo, Chair of the 2008 judges, made the announcement, which was broadcast live on the BBC Ten O' Clock News. Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man Group plc, presented Aravind Adiga with a cheque for £50,000. […]


"The judges found the decision difficult because the shortlist contained such strong candidates. In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal measure.

The novel undertakes the extraordinarily difficult task of gaining and holding the reader's sympathy for a thoroughgoing villain. The book gains from dealing with pressing social issues and significant global developments with astonishing humour."

Portillo went on to explain that the novel had won overall because of 'its originality'. He said that The White Tiger presented 'a different aspect of India' and was a novel with 'enormous literary merit'.



Do you agree with this evaluation of the novel? Discuss. You may want to compare it with your own review.


Wider contexts

2. Critical context: reception: criticism of style

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, professor at UCLA, is critical of how Aravind Adiga uses his main character, particularly Balram’s voice. He argues that Balram’s first-person narrative is an example of “a posh English-educated voice trying to talk dirty, without being able to pull it off”. Although Balram is a member of the lower classes, Adiga’s rather cultivated prose gives an element of falsity in this otherwise realistically written social commentary, according to Subrahmanyam.


Do you agree? Why/ why not?




Wider contexts

3. Literary context: other genre: comparison with “The Ideas Shaping a New India”

Compare the description we get of modern India in The White Tiger with the description you find in “The ideas shaping a new India” p. 309.




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