Manju stands at the center of the investigation of the infrastructure of opportunity that Katherine Boo explains as she finishes the feverish narration of  Beyond the Beautiful Forevers. Manju treads a precarious place in Annawadi’s society wedged between her mother, the admirably driven but maliciously power-hungry Asha, and the younger generation of Abdul’s and Sunil’s, garbage sorting their way towards the hope of better prospects. In the book’s first pages, within the prologue “between roses”, Boo immediately adorns Manju with an arresting title in Annawadi’s infrastructure of opportunity: “Annawadi’s first female college graduate” (Boo, xvii). Despite this promising title, Boo exposes the hasty improvement of Manju’s college career as an “education” of route memorization that fails to yield more lucrative jobs than a chef or a call-center operator.            Even Manju’s contrived and uncreative connection to an education in literature compliments the dramatically and constantly shifting motives of opportunity in Annawadi. Manju must memorize or “by heart” books for her classes. Reciting a summary of Congreve’s The Way of the World, Manju lingers on a line, “In Congreve’s drama, money is more important than love” (Boo, 61). Amidst the fight for upward mobility out of Annawadi, a particular description of Boo’s surprised me: “Manju wasn’t too interested in money. She hungered for virtue” (Boo, 62). The youngest generation of Annawadians’ hunger for virtue and honor first perplexed me as an anomaly in the single story of slum desperation. I imagined myself surrounded by the contrast of a rushing world of luxury and modernity and slum life, teased by a world of shiny “new India” products just out of reach and hoped that my resolve would remain as noble as Manju’s or Abdul’s. As Boo’s narrative progresses, the dense weave of obstacles to opportunity in Annawadi wears on the hopeful illusion of Manju’s college enrollment. Though the outsider would like find the pleasant narrative of an enlightening education, Manju’s college enrollment represents to Asha little more than another economic prospect attached to her daughter. When Asha begins to doubt the path of college she investigates arranged marriages to leverage her daughter’s beauty. As economic pawns of the older generation, Manju explains a friend’s decision of death by rat poison as the, “one decision bout her life she got to make” (Boo, 188). As a teenager at Andover, this time in my life is clouded by shallow anxiety and confusion about the road before me to college and beyond. With Manju’s hunger for virtue echoing in my ears, I think of the constructs of opportunity that American teenagers relentlessly lament about: the quest for perfect test scores, perfect grades, for an Ivy League admission. In my English class and in Niswarth we discuss mindfulness and the powerful formation of habit and I think of the lifestyle of complaint that I hear from myself, my friends, and my classmates. In a moment of intense listening on campus I often feel surrounded by a world of young people arrested by complaint about the stress of school and expectation. It’s not that these pressures and forces aren’t real, they are different infectious side effects of a different mythology of opportunity. Still, Manju’s commentary seemed to expose a by-hearting of the script of the American teenager in which we describe ourselves as victims in a grand conspiracy of the future despite the fact that so many of us live in a world of vast choices. Saturated by the harsh light of Boo’s narrative, this teenage world seems a place filled with convenient despair in contrast to an Annawadi’s teenagers only choice in life: to end it.