Burmese Days: an Example of Imperialism Essay

772 Words Apr 16th, 2010 4 Pages
Burmese Days: An Example of Imperialism Nineteenth century industrialization brought new riches and power to Western Europe, driving the expansion of opportunities and the building of empires in undeveloped territories. Although the developed countries brought many modern technologies to under-developed nations, they also brought fierce racism and European arrogance. Burmese Days by George Orwell was written in 1834 as a satirical view of English imperial life in Burma. Orwell provides a realistic observation of the arrogance the English demonstrated towards the natives and how they justified their actions. Europeans brought many new technologies to the countries that they imperialized. They built railroads and other types of …show more content…
Although Flory has a fondness towards the Burmese people, he still considers himself superior to them which is especially demonstrated through his interactions his Mistress, Ma Hla May. On the day he meets Elizabeth, when Ma Hla May shows up he tells her “Go away this instant. If you make any trouble I will afterwards take a bamboo and beat you till not one of your ribs is whole” (Orwell 87). It is doubtful that he would carry through with the beating, but the threat demonstrates his feeling of superiority. The attitudes of the English are wrong, but perhaps understandable. They assume that because the Burmese are not educated in the same manner as the English, they are not as intelligent. Since the country is not industrialized they have no ambition. Since they are mild mannered and do not fight the English (who have guns), they have surrendered to their natural place in society. Since their skin is brown instead of white, they are not beautiful. One must question how history would change if the Europeans of the 19th century and all people up to today would choose to learn and understand the cultures of others rather than pass judgments and make assumptions. Just as struggles between the upper and lower class were born from a lack of understanding for the other man’s condition in the early days of industrialization, the same is true for the times of imperialism. The English in Burmese Days have taken control of the area with no

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