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White Tiger Questions

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Summary of the White Tiger

The Second Night

  1. Give reasons as to why you think Balram wrote a letter to the Premier Minister Jibao?

Balram seems to be an honest man who might have felt guilty for his actions. Writing a letter to the Premier Minister might have been his way of tackling the situation and feeling better about himself. 

  1. Why does Balram refer to himself as “half-baked”? Explain the meaning of this term.

Half-baked cities built for half-baked men.”[1]  Half-baked directly translated to Danish means halvfærdigt. We can relate this to the fact that India is a country that is going through a huge development economically. Their bigger cities are developing nicely, though suburbs and the country has quite a way to go still. The book therefore refers to the term half-baked, since the cities in the suburbs Balram passes through while driving are getting done.  

In what ways does Balram proceed in terms of his education? Does he succeed in uplifting it?

His paycheck as a driver seems to be quite satisfactory compared to what he earned when he worked at a sweet shop. When he visits his family in Laxmangargh for the first time since he got a new job they are overly excited about his position and beautiful uniform. 

  1. What nickname (not Munna – explain what this name means) does Balram get in class? Why is he given this nickname?

  1. Who is Pinky Madam

Pinky Madam is an American woman married to Mr. Ashok. She is Christian and both her parents and Mr. Ashok’s family were against the two of them marrying each other. Pinky Madam does not fit into the Indian culture and it seems like she simply want to go home to the US. She is not very polite and she spends lots of time playing badminton with the First Servant, Ram Persad. One thing that the Indians find remarkable about her is her wearing trousers. This simply symbolizes the fact that she is from the Western world and that she thus is different from the Indian women.  

  1. What does it mean to be a Halwai?

Halwai is Balram’s last name meaning “Sweet maker”. Halwais are known for making and selling sweets in their small teashops. Everyone from the Darkness hearing the name knows exactly what and who to associate it with. These people are known for being fat, creamy-skinned and smiling. “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.”[2] Those with big bellies are among others Halwais, though Balram cannot exactly be placed in this category. His father worked as a rickshaw and he himself was never much of a sweetmaker.

  1. What is the hospital like?

  1. Why do they want Balram to marry?

Balram’s family has found a young woman, or girl could she even be called, that Balram should marry as soon as she gets her menstrual cycle. Marrying in an early age is part of the Indian culture and especially a tradition in Balram’s family it seems.

I was shown the children that had been born in the family since I had left…” [3] We get the impression that Balram has not been gone for more than a maximum of two years, if it even is for that long, but the family back home has grown remarkably during this small period of time. The family has to create a new generation of Halwais to ensure their caste.



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