Comparative Study: Orwell's 1984 and Burmese Days

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Topics: Burma, George Orwell
Orwell’s novels 1984 and Burmese Days demonstrate two very different styles. Burmese Days, having been written at the beginning of his career has some flaws which he has managed to perfect by the end of his career in 1984. The issue of language is therefore very important when comparing these two novels. Orwell generally uses a language that everyone can understand. It is clear and straight to the point. He gives enough details to instil ideas but not so much that a reader becomes overwhelmed however on a few occasions I managed to feel overwhelmed with detail in Burmese Days.

Both novels describe a world in which I am very unfamiliar with however Burmese Days often uses terms in which are particular to the world he is describing without giving much explanation. In 1984 Orwell goes into great detail to ensure the understanding of such terms such as Newspeak. Despite its foreign nature, I was able to completely understand 1984 whereas many events in Burmese Days left me with many questions. For instance, at the end of the novel, Flory kills the dog along with himself. I understand the need to kill himself but as mentioned in class, why the dog? The dog is not forced to endure living in a society where he does not fit in and is misunderstood. All of the events in Burmese Days do not affect the conditions of this animal’s life. This unclear event poses a problem in terms of the goal of this piece: to demonstrate the awful truth about the situation in Burma. Through this ending it may be possible to describe Flory’s decision as simply the actions of an unsound mind. Of course, I realize that this is not the case and that all of Flory’s concerns are based on the situation of the world around him. The problem in Burma does not lie in Flory but in the society around him. It is because of this society that Flory is not able to find happiness therefore evoking his decision to commit suicide. Flory is not a mentally unstable individual in a stable and rightful

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