Work Ethic: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a review of the novel, White Tiger, and specifically looking at the different types of Work Ethic that are used in the novel. Enjoy.

Submitted: January 17, 2011

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Submitted: January 17, 2011



Work Ethic: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


In White Tiger, Balram’s work ethic dramatically evolved though out the novel, due to the turning of events that enabled him to become his own master. In the beginning of the novel Balram has great work ethic, towards the middle and end he has bad work ethic, and by the end of the novel he has ugly work ethic because he is becoming the corrupt business man, and is just being recycled back into society, and is no longer is special individual personality that he had when he was in the darkness.

 In the beginning of the novel, Balram appears to be a loyal and trustworthy servant and driver to Ashok. For example, “‘Does your boss need anything?’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Does your boss like foreign wine? I have a friend who works at a foreign embassy as a driver. He’s got contacts there. You know the foreign-wine foreign-embassy scam?’”(106.) During this part of the novel Balram is being offered wine, and other items in the black market for his master. However, since Balram claims that his master is a good master who does not get involved into the ghastly activities that all the other corrupt Indian officials do.  Even though Balram only has the insignificant job of Driver #2, he is still constantly working until his master says he can leave, and he never complains while he does his work.  Balram’s work is described as, “I knew without being told I also had to take care of the apartment. Any cleaning there was to be done, I would do, and then come back and wait near the door with folded hands until Mukesh Sir…”  (108.) This proves that Balram is responsible because he is doing work with out being told to do so, which

Slowly as the novel progresses, Balram’s work ethic become worse and worse. Balram begins to take advantage of his master and his responsibilities of a driver. Balram begins to drink and to show more ravenously about his master’s belongings and riches. When Balram is debating to take Ashok’s money it is described as, “Go on look at the red bag, Balram—that’s not stealing is it? I shook my head. And even if you were to steal it, Balram, it wouldn’t be stealing. How so?(194.) This is one of the first stages in Balram’s greediness. Balram describes these events as, “I cheated my employer. I siphoned his petrol; I too his car to corrupt mechanic who billed him for work that was no necessary; and three times, while driving back to Buckingham B, I picked a paying customer. The strangest thing was that each time I looked at the cash I had made by cheating him, instead of guilt, what did I feel? Rage.” (196.) Balram is becoming a selfish man as the novel progresses, and how he is becoming more impassive to the emotions and feelings of everyone else in his life. Later on when Balram is talking to Vitiligo-Lips he says, “‘Good, Country-Mouse. It’s all here. And where is your master? Will you drive him there?’ ‘I am my own master.’” (208.) This also affirms how Balram is becoming distant from the people in his life in order to become more powerful and independent. The major turning point in the novel from Balram having bad work ethic, to having terrible work ethic is when he murders his master. Balram describes this as, “I rammed the bottle down. The glass ate his bone. I rammed it three times into the crown of his skull, smashing though to his brains.” (244.) This stands as one of the major points when Balram’s work ethic turns from bad work ethic to terrible work ethic, and transitions into the ugly work ethic of doing anything for his own greed.

At the end of the novel, it may appear to the reader that Balram has the best work ethic and has finally achieved his dream of being his own master, when in fact it is the worst of the entire novel. When Balram becomes his own master it is just as if he is becoming just another corrupt Indian leader, unlike his unique “white tiger” character he had in the beginning of the novel, but now he just an everyday corrupt leader. Although he may not be as corrupt and evil as some of the other Indian leaders, his choices and decisions for him to get to where he was shapes his character into corrupt. This idea of greediness and hatred to achieve one’s dream is not just seen in Indian however. It can be seen in nearly every single society on Earth. Although there may be some happy and generous people in the world, many are being controlled by their own greed and selfishness without even realizing it. During the novel this happens to Balram because he believes that the life of a rich man is the greatest in the world, but as he slowly grows into this rich corrupt man he has dreamed of he loses connection with everything he had before he left, his family. Towards the end of the novel he has completely lost contact with his family and has no idea if they are dead or alive, but he does not seem to show much emotion on it, which may be because he does not care. The message that Aravind Adiga is sending to the reader is that many people are driven to success not for the mere joy or happiness, but from their own greed and selfishness to achieve greatest in order to gain riches and fame.

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