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Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo Essay (Book Review)

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Updated: Jun 6th, 2020

Katherine Boo is a brilliant author with the various works presented, and one of them is Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. She has a tendency to portray the vulnerability of the world and the poor social classes of the world civilization (Rustin par. 3). Despite having a high potential for describing significant social and economic figures, she devoted her life to the description and delivering to the citizens the social problems such as poverty and hunger. The book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity portrays the living principles in the small settlement, which is located close to Mumbai, and it is depicted in the form of reportage by conducting interviews and observing the behavior of the local habitats (Boo 5).

The ability to experience and see the local living contributes to the presentation of unique perception of the attitude towards the social issues. In this instance, Boo describes Annawadi as the central scene of actions contrasting its surrounding and environment with the luxury hotels and well-developed infrastructure of Mumbai (24). Moreover, high attention is paid to the lifestyle and the obstacles, which the inhabitants have to face while trying to survive in this area. It remains evident that the primary goal of the book is to display the existence of the dramatic social gap in income, inequalities, and the ability of the people to find the way out of poverty with the assistance of real life examples and observations, which were presented by the author.

As for the main characters, the inhabitants of Annawadi live in poverty but try to contribute to the personal development and improve their living conditions. For example, Abdul regularly collects garbage from the rich people and recycles it to improve his financial position (Boo 56). In turn, Asha understands that the necessity of political corruption and decides that it is one of the ways to change the position in the social hierarchy (Boo 76). It remains evident that the author actively contrasts poverty and Annawadi inhabitants with the luxury of Mumbai and underlines the existence of the social hierarchy. Nonetheless, it is clear that the inhabitants have a tendency to adapt to difficulties and prioritize desire to enhance their economic status over the necessity to survive despite living in the constant hunger and fear.

In this instance, the author tends to show the variability of the world and plethora of decisions and opportunities, which one can take to improve the quality of life. Nonetheless, the author also has a tendency to portray social and economic inequality and significant diversification by the social classes among the members of society. The book emphasizes that poverty and existence of social hierarchy contribute to the ability of the locals to fight against injustice. The portrayal of the stressful state of the inhabitants contributes to the understanding of the impact of the social issues such hunger, fear, corruption, and crime on the psychological well-being of the individuals. Nevertheless, the individuals have a tendency to dream about better living and look for the potential ways to enhance their future. It could be said that disturbance contributes to the development of the traits, which will improve the chances of success in future.

The flow of the text allows understanding the substantial problems of the living and poverty and implications of the social issues. Despite experiencing and describing sufferings and the harsh reality, the author portrays the locals with the particular sense of humor. Using this method underlines the significance of the situation, as it adds the ‘living’ notes to the portraits of the inhabitants. It remains evident that close observation helped to show the actual nature of the central characters with the assistance of adding unique traits and stories to each individual.

All of the aspects, which are mentioned above, helped the author to attract attention to the social matters with the portrayal of the lives of regular people. It could be said that the primary motive of the author is to show the reality as it is without hiding suffering and hunger by focusing only on the highly industrialized parts of the country. Lastly, the author faces the challenges with the main characters and persuades reader to experiences the difficulties of poverty with locals.

In the end, the book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in Mumbai Undercity by Boo reveals the social issues of the poor classes and show how regular people face the challenges. In this instance, the primary goal of the book is to portray the current situation without hiding any facts from the public. It remains evident that the inequality will always tend to exist due to the bureaucratic and egoistic nature of the modern politics and society. Nonetheless, the obstacles and issues cannot be disregarded, as millions of people face the on the regular basis to prove their financial conditions. Nevertheless, fear and hunger tend to change the mentality of the individuals and contribute to the development of the personal traits, which allow fighting until the end.

Works Cited

Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Westminster: Penguin Books Limited, 2013. Print.

Rustin, Susanna. “Katherine Boo: Slum Dweller.” The Guardian 2012. Web.

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"Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo." IvyPanda, 6 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/behind-the-beautiful-forevers-by-katherine-boo/.

1. IvyPanda. "Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo." June 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/behind-the-beautiful-forevers-by-katherine-boo/.


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