Burmese Days Book Review

Topics: British Empire, Burma, George Orwell Pages: 7 (2419 words) Published: May 1, 2013
This is a book review on George Orwell’s, Burmese Days. The story shows corruption and imperial prejudice. The daily lives of Burmese and the British were affected by inequality and racism. For the Imperialists life was very well but to the locals the Europeans lived like gods. Therefore the main symbol that portrayed British imperialism, involving racism was the European club. The club located in Burma was a representation of British racism against everyone else that was not British. Burmese Days is set in 1920s imperial Burma. A Burmese magistrate by the name of U Po Kyin is planning to destroy the career of Indian Dr. Veraswami. The doctor is friends with John Flory a white person with high character within the British rulers. The doctor wants to become the first native member of the European club, and by becoming member he feels he will get the same respect as the white members. The exclusive club never admitted a man of a different race because they feel that that the other races are not as civilized. This proposal could not be tolerated by the Europeans especially Ellis, who pushed and voiced his opinion on to others about the acceptance of outsiders. Ellis states, “He’s asking us to break all our rules and take a dear little nigger-boy into this Club… We’ve got to hang together and put our foot down on this at once.”1 (23) This statement shows how Ellis, a British merchant, feels let down that they would even consider allowing an Indian in their club. Everyone shared these views. They also hated the thought of smelling their garlic breath in the club. It made them sick to their stomachs.


George Orwell, Burmese Days,(Orlando:Harcourt,1962)p.23


Flory is a 35 year old timber merchant. He is an alcoholic and a womanizer. He has a birthmark on his face and is very ashamed of it, and thinks it makes him look ugly. Flory is not like the rest of the Europeans; he is fascinated by the Burmese culture and is friendly towards the Burmese people. Because of this he doesn’t see himself ever going back to England. Even though Flory has a Burmese mistress he is emotionally dissatisfied. He feels that only white European women can become a good partner. Then the niece of Mrs. Lackersteen, Elizabeth, arrives in Burma. She was what Flory needed to complete his life. As Elizabeth expects, Flory is about to ask her to marry him, but is interrupted by Mrs. Lackersteen. Mrs. Lackersteen finds out that a young officer is arriving in town and she decided he was better for Elizabeth because he was wealthier then Flory. So, Mrs. Lackersteen tells Elizabeth that Flory has a Burmese mistress in his house. Elizabeth finds Verrall much more attractive then Flory and she ends up falling for him. Elizabeth wants to get married so she can leave the house she is living in. Her uncle Mr. Lackersteen is a pervert and tries to make sexual advances towards her. She wants out of the house. Meanwhile, U Po Kyin has come up with a plan to be elected to the European Club in Burma as they are forced to elect a native member. U Po Kyin plans to start a rebellion and blame it on Dr. Veraswami. The rebellion is started and a native is killed by a Forest Officer, Maxwell. He shot the native as he was running away. Then he tries to justify it by saying the native was conspiring against the Empire. The natives imposed an eye for an eye type of justice and delivered Maxwell’s body into pieces. I admire this act by the Indians it proves to me that when the British cronies got out of hand they did not get away with it lightly. This changes some of the earlier opinions of the Burmese. This also causes a rebellion and the Europeans where cornered in the social club. U Po Kyin though he was going to stop the riots and


be hailed a hero, but his plans is ruined when Flory and Dr.Veraswani are the one who restore peace. Flory becomes a hero in everyone’s eyes, and the doctors’ reputation is restored. Verrall leaves Burma without saying goodbye to...
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