Burmese Days Essay

Published: 2021-06-29 01:46:59
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Category: Literature

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In the novel Burmese Days by George Orwell, imperialism shaped the daily lives of both British and Burmese characters through three main things racism, sexism and inequality. In the mid 1920’s, deep into the days of the empire when The British ruled Burma, racial and sexist boundaries were part of everyday life. In some instances in the novel, Non-European characters tried to gain self respect and freedom by trying to bend the rules an cross over boundries if they possibly could. However, this deed was very hard to complete because of the racial bounderies.
In one very rare case it was successful, U Po Kyin, the Subdivisional Magistrate of Kyauktada (where the novel was based on), wishes to be in the European social club which wasn’t much but it meant so much to the burmese people an the rest of Kyauktada because it was where the most respected people came to socialize. In any town in India, the European club is the place where everyone wishes to be a part of. However the exclusive club has never admitted a man of a different race into it’s social club because they feel that that the other races non other than theirs is not as civilized.
One man who realized that white men are not as superior as they might think, James Flory is desperate to get his black friend, Dr. Veraswami, into the social club. The docter thought of the club as “fortress impregnable” pg 150 and mr. flory will stop at nothing till he is. U Po Kyin, jealous of Veraswami’s freindship with the “white man” is set on ruining both Flory and Veraswami for he should be the one considered for the prestigus club. Hence, he will stop at nothing to cross the thick racial barrier that consist over the entire town. At the end of the novel, riots, suicide, and mourning are the result from U Po Kyin.
Yet U Po Kyin finally gets his membership to the club after he has done all the damage that he had planned to do. Imperialism forced people to become almost different people because they had started riots, cheated, and lied jus to try and get passed the racial barrier. But this would have never happened if the barriers weren’t so thick for the daily lives of the people of Kyauktada. The dailey lives of burmese an the britsih were affected by racism,sexism, and inequality. For the “white man” life was very well but to the burmese the british had lives of gods.
The british had wealthy homes an had servants to wait on them hand an feet, which reated a very satisfying life. Their day consisted of enjoying themselves at the social club with drinks like whisky, and the presence of the other club members to talk to about a variety of things. Then they might go out into the jungle for a walk or maybe go hunting or what not. Basically the british ruled the premises of Kyauktada because the had all the power.
The burmans were affected much differently than the birtish but only in a much worse way. The burmans were either poor working people that had no respect from the british. They lived in the jungle and sold their goods at the bazaar but besides that they lived very oor lives. The other part of the burmese were servants of the british so that was obviuosly a bad life because they had to obey their master who where the british.
They had to tend to his or hers every need an never be disrespectfull unless they wanted to get a good kick in the bottom. After one of the servants didn’t bring ice for one of the “masters’ Verall took action by himself “I kicked his bottom. Serves him right. ” Pg 208. So the burmese were greatly affected by imperialism hence they basically worshipped the british “white men” because they everything compared the burmese poor lives.
The boundaries were set by imperialism to all the people of Kyauktada creating a thick racial boundary. The boundries very hard to break but many tried and failed. To the burmese the boundaries looked like an impossible dream that they could never achieve or in other words break the boundaries. The burmese and the british were almost like two separate countrys because they were so different from each other in the way they lived their daily lives to the british the boundaries look like something that is keepin them away from the burmese who were considered ” disgusting people” pg 132.
The boundaries obviously favored the british rather than the burmese. Some of the non-european characters in the novel tried to break through the racial boundaries and save their self respect and their freedom. U Po Kyin created a whole complicated plan to get into the social club which would be a very great accomplishment for a man like himself. He knew that Dr. verswami would be the first to get accepted because he was friends with Mr. Flory. He planned a riot against the “white man” that he would not take part in but start, and then blame it on Dr. erswami. The plan didn’t go as planned but in the end mr.
Flory ended up comiting suicide. Hence his friend the doctor (Dr. verswami) was ruined because mr flory was his only white friend and now he had no chance at getting in to the club. U Po Kyin took his place as the club decided to take in a non-eurpean and he had accomplished the impossible as it seemed in that time period for a burmese man or a “nigger” to be accepted by the “white man. ” Another example of a non-european trying to break the boundarie was Ma Hla mha * she wanted to be mr.
Florys wife so bad that after he had thrown her out of the house she still called him by his honorable name “thakin. ” She would try to act like a british ladie by putting powder all over her face to make her face look white. She tried to black mail mr. flory by coming to places where she shouldn’t be after he wanted nothing to do with her. She would embarrass mr. Flory an cause a scene until he would give her money. She showed up at the church one time an it caused mr. Flory to loose the woman he wanted to marry, Elizabeth “his face appaled her, it was so ghastly,rigid and old.
It was like a skull. Only ythe birthmark seemed alive in it. She hated him now for his birthmark. Hse had never known till this moment how dishonouring, how unforgivable a thing it was” pg 275. The charchters in the novel were not succesful at all except for U Po Kyin, they would offer anything they had to give to british and they would just turn there nose up in disgust. Except for the one the rest of the characters were unsuccesful at breaking the racial boundary that seperated the “white” from the rest.

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