Study Guide

Slumdog Millionaire Society and Class

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Society and Class

India is the world's second most populous nation, and an emerging powerhouse in the global economy. However, given its status as a newly-industrialized country, India remains one of the most unequal nations in the world, home both to staggering poverty and tremendous wealth.

Through Jamal's story, we see both sides of this coin. As a so-called "slumdog," Jamal embodies the grit and vigor of the nation's poor, who, against all odds, find ways to survive and even thrive. But Slumdog Millionaire shows that even in the most challenging circumstances, and in the face of incredible hardship, there's always hope to dream big and achieve greatness.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Why does Salim choose the life of a gangster? Can we sympathize with his decisions?
  2. Why does Prem, the game show host, attempt to take down Jamal?
  3. Why is the entire country practically rooting for Jamal on the game show?
  4. What does "success" mean for Jamal? How might his idea of success differ from that of Salim, Latika, Prem, or some of the other characters?

Chew on This

Slumdog Millionaire is nothing but a fairy tale; in reality, it would be impossible for someone like Jamal to escape poverty.

The conflict between Jamal and Prem on the game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, emphasizes the seductive danger of money.

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