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Text Analysis Behind the Beautiful Forevers


TextAnalysis: Behind the Beautiful Forevers

The book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in aMumbai Undercity written by Katherine Boo capture the challengesthat the people in the slums are facing. More specifically, itfocuses on Annawadi, a makeshift area that also looks like a slum andthe residents are not in a better economic position instead. In theprocess, Boo highlights various challenges that they undergo in thesociety as they try to survive. More important, most of the residentsare striving and hoping that they will move out of the slums. Forinstance, Abdul struggles to master other skills and find anotherplace that has more opportunities and better than slums. This essayevaluates how people in the slum face the economic difficulties,corrupt officials and disunity among the families that make some ofthem wish that they can escape from Annawadi.

The book reveals the lack of economic opportunities and how the youngpeople settle for menial jobs to make a living. In this case, theeconomic challenges are a problem that most of the characters face,and they have been forced to settle for jobs with less pay. Forinstance, the young Abdul has to sift through the garbage and dealwith discarded recyclable materials to make a living. He has to worktirelessly in order to improve the lives of his parents and his twosiblings. However, everyone in the community complains of the samechallenges, and they hope that they will be able to surpass them.More important, the people still have the hope that they will escapefrom the slums, and they believe that their persistence will pay off.

Some people complain of the corrupt judicial system and the policeforce that focuses on exploiting them rather than creating asupportive environment. In this case, the dishonest officials derailtheir chances of succeeding since they retain a part of the returnsthat they make. The book reveals that the “Indian criminal justicesystem was a market like garbage, Abdul now understood. Innocence andguilt could be bought and sold like a kilo of polyurethane bags”(Boo, 2012, p.107). The statement shows that corruption is a bigproblem in the slum, and the young members are tired of the practice.Abdul believes that even trying to justify his innocence does nothelp, and he is expected to bribe the police officials in order tolive peacefully. No one intends to stay in a place that has a fewopportunities and has a corrupt system that keeps exploiting them.Instead, everyone wants a place that will provide a supportiveenvironment that will help them succeed.

The disunity in Annawadi has resulted in the families fightingagainst each other rather than everyone working towards helping theirneighbors. For instance, the poor people are unable to support eachother to achieve economic success and development. Instead, the storyshows how the powerless people keep blaming each other for theirmiseries, and no one is ready to help another one. Some of them wantto destroy their counterparts as opposed to helping them. In theprocess, such issues keep them from achieving other critical andproductive goals in their society. The book reveals that the “poorpeople didn’t unite they competed furiously among themselves forgains as slender as they were provisional” (Boo, 2012, p. 237). Forinstance, Fatima is blinded with the idea of competing with Abdul’sfamily. In fact, she sets herself on fire and accuses Abdul ofcommitting the crime. In reality, she wants other powerless peoplelike her to suffer rather than progress. On the other hand, Ashaseems ambitious but, she believes that she might exploit the slumdwellers by creating problems and asking them to pay for theirsolutions. Hence, the slum is not a perfect place that people withbig dreams are supposed to stay in a place that will offer them theopportunities they need (Barrett &amp Carter, 2013). Based on thedisunity, it is clear that Abdul’s chances of succeeding areminimal, and he will achieve what he wants after he escapes fromAnnawadi.

In conclusion, the slums are economically unproductive, and thepeople experience other challenges such as hatred and corruption thatmotivates them to escape from the slums. In this case, people such asAbdul have the vigor and the ability to succeed economically, but,the circumstances do not allow them to be productive. The scenariomotivates them to find better places where they will be able to findbetter initiatives and help them thrive. For instance, the areaexperiences a high level of corruption since the judicial system aswell as the police force is terrorizing the young fellows that aretrying to make their lives productive. Abdul even claims that it isdifficult to prove his innocence to the officers and he is forced tohand out bribes often. Apart from that, the hatred from Fatima seemsto undermine the progress that Abdul’s family tries to make in theend. When Fatima sets herself on fire, she claims that Abdul and hisfamily did that. Instead, he has to be involved with the officers toavoid any jail term. However, the slum is not a proper place whereAbdul will be able to succeed in life.


Barrett, C.B. and Carter, M.R., 2013. The economics of poverty trapsand persistent poverty: empirical and policy implications. TheJournal of Development Studies, 49(7), pp.976-990.

Boo, K., 2012. Behind the beautiful forevers: Life, death, andhope in a Mumbai undercity. New York: Random House.