Racial Boundaries in Burmese Days by George Orwell

Topics: Racism, Race, Bamar Pages: 4 (1471 words) Published: October 8, 2009
The British colonization of Burma created a racial boundary that had the Burmese dealing with white European supremacy since day one. It is evident throughout George Orwell’s novel, Burmese Days, that the main theme is the superiority of the white Europeans over the non-white Burmese. The white Europeans are extremely racist, sexist, and self centered. The social class system in this novel seems to be a two-tier system. The top tier being the white European elite, while the bottom tier seems to be the rest. The non-white Burmese people constituted the rest. These non-whites are considered second nature to the Europeans and hold such titles and jobs as peasants and servants. Elizabeth often refers them to as “beastly”. She is an Englishwomen, a niece of the colonialist, comes to Burma to stay with her aunt and uncle. The theme of racial boundary in Burmese Days extends also to social and sexual boundaries as well. The exclusivity of the European Club signifies the social structure throughout the book. The European Club consists of all white Europeans resembling a current day country club. This club is exclusive to only white Europeans. The members of this group sit around in the club and drink and belittle women and the Burmese. Sexual boundaries displayed in this novel are reproduced throughout the novel between character interactions. This mostly deals with the interactions between Flory with Elizabeth and a Burmese woman Ma Hla May. Women are perceived to be inferior to males in Burma. Burmese women especially are looked upon as peasants and prostitutes. Boundaries such as social and sexual, as themes in this novel, are just merely sub-themes that tie in together with the main theme of this novel dealing with the white European supremacy over the non-white Burmese. The story of this novel takes place in a town Kyauktada, Burma. The plot and theme of the novel is surrounded by exclusivity of the European Club to white members only. Membership of this club...
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