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The Burmese Days

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message 1: by Fahrul (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:12PM) (new)

Fahrul Amama | 4 comments Mod
It's on the news recently, the sight of the true cruelty of a totalitarian government beating the monks on streets in Burma (now begin to well known by Myanmar). Those views that had been televised and broadcasted all over the world remind me of similar stories of cruelty in Burmese Days that had been written by Blair/Orwell.
After Blair finished his studies at Eton, his family could not pay for university and he had no prospect of winning a scholarship, so in 1922 he joined the Indian Imperial Police, serving at Katha and Moulmein in Burma. He came to hate imperialism, and when he returned to England on leave in 1927 he decided to resign and become a writer. He later used his Burmese experiences for the novel Burmese Days (1934).
Burmese Days is a novel based loosely on Orwell's five years as a policeman in the Indian Imperial Police force in Burma, it is a caustic, fast-paced tale about the waning days of British imperialism before World War II. Publishers were reluctant to publish the book due to fear of libel suits. No retired British officers filed any libel suits, but the book was not available in India and Burma at the time of publication. The characters in the novel were based on real people and only on the insistence of the publishers were some of the places and names changed.
Orwell's political views shifted over time, but he was a man of the political left throughout his life as a writer. His time in Burma made him a staunch opponent of imperialism, and his experience of poverty while researching Down and Out in Paris and London and The Road to Wigan Pier turned him into a socialist. "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it," he wrote in 1946.


message 2: by Laena (new)

Laena (turambar) | 1 comments I really liked "Burmese Days"...
Since the novel is based on Orwell's personal experience, do you happen to know whether one of the characters represents Orwell himself? Flory, for instance?


message 3: by Chris (new)

Chris (chrj) | 1 comments I would guess that Flory is at least partially based on Eric Blair's experiences in Burma, and at least partially fictional. I'd like to read a good biography of Orwell sooner or later which would hopefully expand on his time there.


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