Cultural Encounters in Arvind Adiga’s The White Tiger
The White Tiger, Booker prize winning novel of 2008, is a portrayal of a society in flux, where various sections of the social order find themselves in unique and complex cultural encounters. Cross-cultural encounters generally refer to the encounters between people of different nations, religions or global regions. However, Arvind Adiga’s novel has expressed this cultural encounter within a single nation- India. India, with its diversity is not just one nation culturally; it has so many diverse cultures that, within a nation there are various cultural encounters. In the race towards progress where India is surging ahead economically, there is a part of India that has been left behind. These “have-nots” find themselves in conflict with the privileged classes, and the ensuing encounter poses numerous questions for the reader of The White Tiger.
Cultural encounters challenge ideas about cultural homogeneity and the unchanging nature of traditions and society. Any cultural encounter will automatically pose questions about identity. In The White Tiger, the novelist portrays Indian society that is transforming due to western influence and the rural India that is not able to cope with this change, finds itself trapped, suffocated, neglected and at the verge of revolt. Balram, the downtrodden protagonist of the novel not only revolts as a result of this cultural encounter, but manages to improve his fate by becoming an entrepreneur defying all social and economic conventions of India. The paper analyses various dimensions of cultural encounters in the novel The White Tiger.
Keywords: Cultural encounter, social flux, identity, western influence.
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