The Frustrating Character of Pinky Madam

I am intrigued by The White Tiger’s Pinky Madam. Perhaps, because I still can’t seem to understand her. In my opinion she exemplifies the complexity of the novel; specifically in the follow line: “(Who would have thought, Mr. Jiabao, that of this whole family, the lady with the short skirt would be the one with a conscience)” (Adiga 153). This sentence baffles me for a multitude of reasons. First is its form. Although it is important in describing Pinky Madam as well as to the themes of the overall novel, it is written in parenthesis (I can’t help but think about Roy and The God of Small Things every time I read that paragraph), thus suggesting that it an after-thought or a piece of information that the narrator does not consider to be overly important. Secondly, is the relationship between the woman’s short skirt and her conscience. This introduces the reader to the issues that surround the character of Pinky Madam. Balram has trouble respecting her because of her indecent attire, but is impressed by her moral compass, which is something so many of the other characters lack. Pinky Madam, as she is described by Balram is a collection of opposing characteristics. The biggest problem that I have with Pinky Madam is when she decides to listen to her conscience. She immediately divorces Ashok and leaves India after the hit and run. However, this is not the first time that her family participates in something immoral. She is married to a man who is involved in a corrupting business and politics. I have a hard time believing that Pinky Madam, an educated woman, would be completely ignorant of her husband’s wrong doings. Thus it irks me that she allows her husband to exploit Indians for months before showing us her conscience. It seems to me that she does not actually care for the people, but rather only considers her own image of herself. It makes sense then that she flees India not because she killed someone, but because she is a murderer. I spent the majority of the novel trying to like Pinky Madam – I was looking for at least one likeable character! Ultimately, I cannot like her. In fact, I find her to be one of the most the most frustrating and disagreeable characters in The White Tiger.

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2 thoughts on “The Frustrating Character of Pinky Madam

  1. I completely agree with you about Pinky Madam is an frustrating character. With her foul language and hurtful actions she is very unlikeable. I am interested in how her character embodies foreign ideologies. Care to share some?

    By the way I read White Tiger for a post-colonial lit course. Why did you read it?

  2. I thought she was supposed to be the voice of someone totally outside of Indian culture? She bails out when something that would be totally unconscionable (and often bordering on the impossible) in many countries (such as the USA) occurs. Ashok is too nice for her and, whilst she is a pain in the arse, in many ways it was her that was keeping him on the straight-and-narrow. He was aware of her conscience and naïve world view and – as he was attached to her – he tried not to disappoint her. Perhaps he made himself feel that he could be a better man? Certainly she was the only person in the novel to actually be kind to animals (her dogs).

    Anyway. I’m not sure if her departure happened as a result of Ashok’s deteriorating moral compass, or if he went down hill after she left?

    I’d like to see her return to India to reclaim her husband’s empire. Of course, she’d recognise the murderer instantly if she saw him and would be able to turn him in. And he’s – perhaps unwillingly – about to become a rich and influential public figure. With many enemies. and a terrible secret.

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