Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

  • 28-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 17 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a literary scholar with a Master's degree in Creative Writing
Access Full Summary

Behind the Beautiful Forevers Important Quotes

1. “Here, in the thriving western suburbs of the Indian financial capital, three thousand people had packed into, or on top of, 335 huts. It was a continual coming-and-going of migrants from all over India…” (xi)

2. “Each evening, they returned down the slum road with gunnysacks of garbage on their backs, like a procession of broken-toothed, profit-minded Santas. (xii)

3. “Annawadians now spoke of better lives casually, as if fortune were a cousin arriving on Sunday, as if the future would look nothing like the past.” (xvii)

4. “It seemed to him that in Annawadi, fortunes derived not just from what people did, or how well they did it, but also from the accidents and catastrophes they dodged. A decent life was the train that hadn’t hit you, the slumlord you hadn’t offended, the malaria you hadn’t caught.” (xx)

5. “In the West, and among some in the Indian elite, this word, corruption, had purely negative connotations; it was seen as blocking India’s modern, global ambitions. But for the poor of a country where corruption thieved a great deal of opportunity, corruption was one of the genuine opportunities that remained.” (28)

6. “She didn’t cry for the fate of her husband, son, and daughter, or for the great web of corruption she was now forced to navigate, or for a system in which the most wretched tried to punish the slightly less wretched by turning to a justice system so malign it sank them all. She cried for the manageable thing – the loss of that beautiful quilt, a parting gift to a woman who had used her own body as a weapon against her neighbors.” (115)

7. “Still, from what he had observed in Annawadi, the fact that a boy knew about the gods didn’t mean the gods would look after the boy.” (161)

8. “But something he’d come to realize on the roof, leaning out, thinking about what would happen if he leaned too far, was that a boy’s life could still matter to himself.” (199)

9. “In America and Europe, it was said, people know what is going to happen when they turn on the water tap or flick the light switch….

This is just a preview. The entire section has 404 words. Click below to download the full study guide for Behind the Beautiful Forevers.