Imperialism In George Orwell's Burmese Days

Improved Essays
Incendiary Imperialism: Britain’s Racial Relegation Amidst economic malaise, crumbling foreign influence and polarizing domestic turmoil, the inception of British ‘New Imperialism’ spurred large scale overhauls of economic and foreign policy and even larger scale ramifications in overseas assets. The birth of ‘New Imperialism’ maintained heavy racial underpinnings implying that a “civilization” should be comprised of Crown-loyal, ‘civilized’ subjects, otherwise known as a predominantly white society—native populations were frequently deemed barbaric, savage and most notably, inferior. The popularization of scientific racism, or eugenics, provoked a widespread sentiment of desiring racial ‘purity’ in foreign territories, justified by the ‘White …show more content…
In emphasizing tensions between the Imperialist Englishmen living in Burma and the natives, Orwell harnesses Flory’s relentless identity crisis between fulfilling his role as an Imperialist subject of the Crown and his reverence for Burmese culture. Upon entering the club, Flory engages in the banter between Ellis and the other Englishmen in deriding the insolent natives and reminiscing about the glory days of the British Raj, yet he is quickly disgusted by their subhuman characterization of the “Orientals” and leaves.6 After Flory’s departure, Ellis recognizes Flory’s sympathy toward the Burmese and dubs him a “niggers’ pal” and furthermore labels him “too Bolshie” to conform with the remainder of the group.7 Orwell accentuates the vehement contempt of the Englishmen toward the Burmese through Ellis’ strong rhetoric in reaction to the slightest hint of Flory’s approval of Burmese culture—Orwell’s characterization of the group as the ‘typical Englishmen’ strongly suggest that national perception of foreigners is that they are subhuman, deceitful and frivolous beings. This racism further manifests itself when Flory takes Elizabeth to the pwe in order to expose her to Burmese culture and the wonders of the ‘Orient’ that Elizabeth so desired upon embarking for the East; as Elizabeth watches the dance, she looks on with “something approaching horror,” and feels disgusted next to U Po Kyin.8 Given Elizabeth’s Europeanized background and her jealousy for the affluent upper class during her days at boarding school, Orwell emphasizes the cultural disparity between the Burmese and the English coupled with Elizabeth’s abhorrent reaction to reveal the

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    In his essay, “Shooting an Elephant”, well known writer, George Orwell, recounts his experience where his morals and ego were challenged by the Burmese natives. He finds himself struggling with an internal conflict over his attitude toward the empire he serves and the natives he oversees. Orwell uses diction to reveal an attitude of bitterness and resentment towards the Burmese natives, despite having to prove his strength and dominance as a British soldier. Orwell opens his piece by revealing his antipathy toward imperialism and the British regime. This is evident when he claims that he “was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British” (285).…

    • 567 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Wilhelm’s decisions had many ramifications, in particular, disturbing the progress and stability that Bismarck had achieved for Germany. Wilhelm and his pressure group, the Pan-German league, were greatly influenced by the notion of ‘World Policy’. Here, his desire to control colonies, international trade and achieve a status equal to Britain, completely neglected Bismarck’s hard work in using diffusing tensions between rival nations. Driven by Wilhelm’s love/hate relationship and rivalry with Britain, he wanted to expand his naval power and imperial possessions. This desire grew tension amongst the great powers and he became known as the ‘war lord.…

    • 991 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A change began to occur in both Britain and America, where the English went from having much admiration for their political institutions as Anglo-Saxonism and became racialized, which consequentially led to the submission and oppression of Native Americans, Africans, and Mexicans. In…

    • 1284 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However these pale in comparison to the effectiveness of actual historical truths in imperialism, colonialism, and other atrocities that expose Locke for relations of domination and exploitation. He extends past liberty and equality, providing a framework of how economic foundations in the current economy are rooted in racist social contract ideals. Global historical reoccurrences reinforce his claim that these lead to mass discourse, and the presence of domination roots in Locke’s political theory. Mills surpasses the core of Locke’s thought by discussing racism as an ideology. While, “the social contract requires that all citizens and persons learn to respect themselves,” (72), the racial contract acknowledges epistemologies of ignorance and political domination within the social contract.…

    • 1442 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Rudyard Kipling demonstrates a negative, disgusted view of imperialism in the British Empire. He uses his story, “The Man Who Would Be King,” to convey his message. This novella follows the story of two characters, Dravot and Carnehan, who set out on an adventure to Kafiristan with the goal of becoming kings there. Throughout this journey, Kipling’s dissatisfaction with the British empire is made known. The egotistical behavior of leaders, lack of ‘noblesse oblige,” and continued need for materialistic gain are just three of his main displeasures.…

    • 1021 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    And also politically, as it helps root power and government for the imperial power, to allow a word and influence over these nations seen inferior or lacking. Despite its positives, imperialism and globalization weigh heavier on the negative side, also presented by the source. The imperialist endeavors crippled nations and cultures, even leading to the extinction of some, and stripped them of sovereign rights to their own land, in the process. Actions that fed on those seen supposedly inferior and or different to the “white man’s…

    • 1043 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Imperialism And Militarism

    • 2224 Words
    • 9 Pages

    Writing in 1912, Karl Liebknacht warns, “All the international conflicts have been brought to their greatest point of intensity. Like a cyclone, imperialism spins across the globe,” and describes the alarming act that is New Imperialism. Historians characterize this nineteenth century phenomena by a flood of newly industrialized countries aiming to gain influence over a foreign group of distant and less-developed people. European countries, motivated by the need to protect their country’s own interests from other similarly economically advanced European countries, strove to increase their power, profit, and popularity through imperialism. This imperialism resulted from the stagnating Second Industrial Revolution, which previously countered…

    • 2224 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Racist attitudes emerged as a result of the constant pressure to maintain one’s image. This becomes evident in a dinner conversation where he states “If we don’t look out the white race will be utterly submerged.” (p.13). Tom’s racism is a facade for his fear of romantic dreamers. Romantics such as immigrants and new money, pose as a threat to the established rich in that Tom believes they will take away his social prestige. Moral decay regarding issues of sexism were also made…

    • 1296 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Manifest Destiny is still linked to racism, as it is blatant that it contributes heavily to cultural as well as political imperialism in this contemporary world. For instance, Manifest Destiny is accountable for the current horrendous war within the Iraqis state because of the hubris that causes predicaments for those nations such as America, which inherently believe they are much superior over the…

    • 631 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    George Orwell critiques British rule in Burma through John Flory by having Flory detest the imperial rule, yet have him also feel caught up in the riptides of the imperial movement as though he must go on with it or face being isolated from everyone else around him. In Burmese Days, when thinking about his fellow Englishmen’s culture during a conversation with Dr. Veraswami, John Flory thinks to himself, “Dull boozing witless porkers! Was it possible that they could go on week after week, year after year, repeating word for word the same evil-minded drivel, like a parody of a fifth-rate story in Blackwood’s? Would none of them ever think of anything new to say?” (33). This shows that he is disgusted with, and tired of hearing about, the British…

    • 2229 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Great Essays