Last Man in Tower

By Aravind Adiga
Genre: Adventure
Buy Now This book is on reading list for March 2013

Discussion Questions

1.What do you think the banyan tree symbolizes at the beginning of the novel as well as at the end?

2. At the outset of the novel, the reader is told, “If you are inquiring about Vishram Society, you will be told right away that it is pucca—absolutely, unimpeachably pucca.” What does the word pucca mean? Why is this fact about Vishram important to the story?

3. On page 7, there is a quote adapted from the Bhagavad Gita: “I was never born and I will never die; I do not hurt and cannot be hurt; I am invincible, immortal, indestructible.” Which characters in the novel seem to feel this way?

4. According to Masterji, his wife’s favorite saying was “ ‘Man is like a goat tied to a pole.’ Meaning, all of us have some free will but not too much” (page 41). Does this prove true for him? What about the other characters?

5. Is Dharmen Shah a villain? What are his intentions? Who else might be considered a villain in the story?

6. Discuss Masterji’s friendship with Mr. and Mrs. Pinto. Does envy come into play? How does the offer change their relationship? How is this reinforced by

7. What is the symbolism behind Mr. Kothari’s flamingos? What are some of the other characters’ influential memories?

8. There are several instances of betrayal in the novel. Whose struck you as most shocking?

9. The offer brings out many different emotions and reactions from the residents of Vishram. What are the facts of human nature (p.257, p.290)? How does Mr. Shah’s offer dramatize these facts?

10. Several of the characters have children, Masterji included. How does their role as parents influence their decision-making?

11. After reading the sign his neighbors have posted criticizing him, Masterji thinks, “A man is what his neighbours say he is” (page 196). Is this true in the novel? How does that notion affect Masterji? Do you think the neighbors’ opinions were entirely new or had just lain dormant until he refused the offer?

12. How do you explain Ajwani’s surprising refuse to sign?

13. The last line of the novel is, “Nothing can stop a living thing that wants to be free.” What does this refer to?

(Questions adapted from those issued by Random House.)

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