In the White Tiger, existentialism is a huge
theme within the novel. This is seen through the character of Balram Halwai.
After reading this novel, it can be said that the poor people in the setting
are not living authentically, and living in bad faith. “Things are different in
the darkness. There, every morning, tens of thousands of young men sit in the
tea shop…they’ve given up the fight” ( 
). Living authentically means to have purpose which we set ourselves and
to set out on the journey for destiny which we ourselves write. These men
remain unreflective and do not take a course of action to find work which is
what Martin Buber refers to as bad faith. After one fights for a long time, one
stops fighting and reflecting about one’s life and destiny which results in
regression and not progression. “Hundreds of pale hens and brightly coloured
roosters, stuffed tightly into wire-mesh cages…” (Adiga 145). This is how these
animals are treated. They watch as the butcher kills each one of them, knowing
that it is their turn soon yet they make no effort to get out of the coop. “The
very same thing is done with the human beings…” (Adiga 173-174) within the
novel. The White tiger represents the
embarrassments and cruelties which the common and poorer classes experience.
Balram Halwai wants to break out of his cage because he does not want to remain
a slave, in all aspects. Also, Balram’s morals are restricted by his masters
and this shown in the novel when Balram saw a beggar and “Without thinking much of it, (he) cracked open the
egg.  Rolling down the glass, (he) held out a rupee. . .”  (Adiga 241).
This action shows the reader that he in touch with his morals and is a good
man. Although, Mr. Ashok and the Mongoose react in an entirely different way by
accusing of Balram putting the company’s wealth at risk, and claiming that to
help people is wrong. They impose their beliefs on him by threatening the loss
of his job which gives more of a reason for Balram to leave so that he may make
his own moral choices and follow the life he wishes to lead. Balram
remains a servant until the perfect opportunity arises which is when Mr. Ashok
withdrawals seven hundred thousand rupees from the bank. For Balram, this money
“was enough for a house. A motorbike. And a small shop. A new life.” (Adiga
280). After Mr. Ashok’s transaction, Balram contemplates his next move as this
move could set him free. He then resolves to kill Mr. Ashok and although he
committed a murder, Balram was and is morally conscious but had to lead the
life he wanted to, at any cost. This is Balram making the necessary steps in
order to living an authentic life.


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