Thursday, October 1, 2009

the White Tiger

The White Tiger prepared me for it's climax, but I refused to believe it; at the end I was a little horrified but since then have given it my approval.

I read it a long time ago and what I remember most was it's critique of capitalism and looking after one's self. It was in an extreme sense, of course, but the extremity was Aravind Adiga's device. He craftily showed us what is at stake and what it takes to escape from the dregs. (I don't have my copy with me sadly because I gave it to Mom.) The protagonist was demonstrably badly off and the whole novel I sympathized with his situation. But in that atrocious act (killing his employer) I lurched away, taking my sympathy with me.

Stealing the reader's sympathy for the protagonist is what Adiga had in mind - it forced reflection. It's easy to sympathize with one less fortunate, but when push comes to shove I didn't have what it takes to support the protagonist when things got real (as they said in the parlance of the turn of the millenium).

Like a good novel I thought about it a little more after reading it and overtime I began to retrieve my harsh judgements of the main character. I haven't gotten to condoning it yet, but I wouldn't castigate him as much as before.

All this happened with him telling me the entire book he was going to do it! I basically refused to believe it. After it happened I re-read it and thought, "oh yeah, he said that was going to happen..."

The other devise I loved was his analogy with the rooster coup, or whatever it was. I wish I had my copy. He brought it up a lot earlier on and then finished with it really well; every now and again one of the roosters gets out and who knows whether he'll make it or get thrown back in.

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