Course Hero. "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 May 2020. Web. 25 Sep. 2023. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Behind-the-Beautiful-Forevers-Life-Death-and-Hope-in-a-Mumbai-Undercity/>.
Course Hero. (2020, May 1). Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Behind-the-Beautiful-Forevers-Life-Death-and-Hope-in-a-Mumbai-Undercity/
(Course Hero, 2020)
Course Hero. "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Study Guide." May 1, 2020. Accessed September 25, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Behind-the-Beautiful-Forevers-Life-Death-and-Hope-in-a-Mumbai-Undercity/.
Course Hero, "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Study Guide," May 1, 2020, accessed September 25, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Behind-the-Beautiful-Forevers-Life-Death-and-Hope-in-a-Mumbai-Undercity/.
The wall represents India's attempt to conceal its poverty and corruption. On one side of Annawadi, where much of the terminal traffic originates, "gleaming aluminum fences" hide the neighborhood from sight. Drivers approaching from the other side see only "a concrete wall covered with sunshine-yellow advertisements." The concrete wall advertises floor tiles, and the corporate tagline repeated over and over along the length of the wall is "BEAUTIFUL FOREVER." The wall has been deliberately erected and plastered with attractive advertisements to hide the slum.
The wall, echoed in the verbally ironic title of the narrative, symbolizes how India tries to cover up the massive problem of poverty and the suffering of its marginalized poor. The wall also symbolizes the corruption of the Indian government. Just like the scam artists from the bottom to the top of the class system, the wall tells a convenient lie. The corporation that runs the airport would rather the well-to-do people who come through its terminals not be exposed to the urban underbelly hidden behind the "Beautiful Forevers." India has experienced a surge of prosperity, but that wealth has not trickled down far enough into the lower classes, who continue to live in horrific conditions.
One of the two Annawadi landmarks, the "lake" is a foul-smelling pool of water large enough for toxic fish to live in. The lake is full of excrement, garbage from the airport and the slum, and petrochemicals. It overflows during monsoon season. The lake also hosts malarial mosquitos. Early on in the book, Boo notes that 12 goats have died after drinking water from the lake, and their bodies have been thrown back into the toxic pool as additional pollutants. The lake symbolizes the poisonous environment—physical, psychological, and spiritual—that the slum dwellers of Annawadi must negotiate every day of their lives.