Burmese days

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George Orwell's novel Burmese Days is set in 1920's Burma under British colonialism. It focuses on the imperialism of the British and its effects on the relationships between the British, the British and Indians, and between the Indians themselves. The novel concentrates on the town of Kyauktada in Upper Burma.

Kyauktada is described as hot and sultry. It is a small town of about four thousand. The overwhelming majority of the inhabitants are Burmese, but there are also a hundred Indians, two Eurasians, sixty Chinese, and Seven Europeans. (Pg. 16) It is near the jungle and the Irrawaddy River. There are many trees and flowers, including honeysuckle. Though the English have jobs to perform much of their time is consumed with drinking whiskey in the Club, retreating from the "prickly" heat, napping, and occasionally playing tennis or hunting. Though there is not much physical activity by the English, they do not complain about it.

They do complain incessantly about the heat and about the possible acceptance of natives into their exclusively European Club.

In Burmese Days the overwhelming majority of British held themselves superior to the Burmese. They feel that it is their duty to rule over the less intelligent "niggers" of Burma. Through the description of the characteristics of both the British and Burmese, Orwell helps us understand the value system through which the British have come to the conclusion that they must rule over the Burmese. An example of such a description is that of Maxwell, them acting Divisional Forest Officer. Maxwell is depicted as a "fresh-coloured blond youth of not more than twenty-five or six - very young for the post he held." (Pg. 22) This description lends value to the light skinned and fair-haired British, though some, like Flory, have black hair. Maxwell is also very...