In Aravind Adigas' novel The White Tiger, Balram Halwai considers his criminal behavior as an “act of entrepreneurship” because he commits these acts in order to get ahead in his life. Balram wants a better life for himself so he becomes determined to change his life one step at a time. Born into a caste of sweet makers, Balram shows the readers that caste is becoming less and less important in developing India. What is important, we find out, is the desire to rise above these castes to the top of the social and economic ladder. Adiga uses the language and conceptual framework of global capitalism to establish and frame the world in which Balram pursues his entrepreneurial goals.
It is Balram who describes his killing of his boss as an “act of entrepreneurship” because in Balrams eyes, this was necessary in order for him to propel himself into a better life and higher social standing. Through the writing of letters to the Chinese president, Balram justifies his actions in the eyes of society because he explains that he had to do it, and Adiga uses language and ideas that make the reader believe this act was justifiable. Many people in the world will do whatever is necessary in order to get ahead in life. If the desire and will are strong enough, it can happen. In the end, Adiga successfully portrays a growing society and demonstrates what it means to be a citizen in a world such as Balrams’.
The New York Times did a book review on the novel that seems to disagree with my opinion that the novel effectively portrays a growing society both socially and economically. The review states that the novel is simplistic and has an "absence of complexity." I disagree. I feel that aside from the landlords, the characters are actually very psychologically complex Balram derives a whole plan that will take a long time to complete, and it takes a great mind to get away with such a crime. However, not only are the characters complex, India itself is complex and its inner workings are demonstrated beautifully. Check out the link to The New York Times article to decide for yourself.