Burmese Days Book Review

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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.

1

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

1

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.

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