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He was then going through a crisis provoked by the remorse he felt at having served British Imperialism. England in the disturbed years of the Great Depression gave him plenty of opportunity to observe the effects of poverty and to question the system that could produce such evil. The he gave of his school-days experiences shows how sensitive he was since childhood to the humiliations which poverty can inflict and to the destructive power of injustice on the human mind. The life he chose to lead in the Thirties is so intimately bound with the social and political history of the period that we cannot altogether ignore his personal experience.

It gives his writing its highly idiosyncratic character and that passionate tone which, together with his well-known honesty, is so compelling an element of his art. Orwell was not alone among the writers of his generation in condemning the standards of middle-class life in England, but his rejection involved more than a denunciation of meaningless conventions and institutions, and his position was more dramatic because his despair at not finding an adequate substitute for them was greater.

He committed himself to politics, but he saw that each cause carries its own traps and he came to the conclusion that nothing could improve the desperate condition of human beings in a diseased society. They present the predicament of the modern Englishman caught between his strong loyalties to traditional institutions and his disgust for what they have become. Orwell was first made to face this dilemma as a servant of British Imperialism in Burma.

He became aware of the discrepancy between the democratic principles which the liberals upheld in England and their continuing support of colonialism. At the same time, he was building up a violent hatred of the colonial system, though he remained a sincere admirer of what the early empire builders had achieved.

He dramatized this conflict in Burmese Days The Anglo-Indians try to recreate England in India and by doing so merely show up the worst prejudices of the English middle class. They do not try to understand the people on whom they impose their rule and the outward s of their civilization, and they are inevitably corrupted by serving imperialism without grasping the nature of their task. A conflict arises in Kyauktada, where the scene of Burmese Days is set, when the central authorities send word that the Anglo-Indians are to admit a native member to their club. U Po Kyin, the dishonest city magistrate, is determined to be elected and intrigues ruthlessly for that purpose.

He has a rival in Dr. Veraswami, the most respect-able Indian in town, who enjoys some prestige among his country-men because he is the friend of a white man, Flory. The latter sympathizes with the Burmese and makes some effort to understand them, but he is a coward; although he has promised his friend to propose his name, he s a motion protesting against the admittance of Indians to the club.

Flory is torn between his loyalty to his country and his knowledge of the evil nature of imperialism. He attempts to initiate her into Burmese life and culture, but she is uninterested and shocked. Elizabeth rejects him definitely and even refuses to quarrel, pretending that there never was anything between them. Flory commits suicide. Veraswami is ruined, while U Po Kyin is elected to the club and honoured by the Governor.

A few months later Elizabeth marries Mr. Flory disapproves of British rule in Burma, but he could not simply leave it and have nothing more to do with imperialism because he is attached to the country. Yet in spite of this attachment, of his sympathy for the natives, and of his hatred of imperialism, he does not treat the Burmese as if they were his equals, not even Dr. It is not surprising that the latter should be fanatically pro-British. He talked to him as if to himself but he would clearly not have liked it if Veraswami had countenanced his opinion.

Though Veraswami is the most worthy representative of his race in Kyauktada, he does not come out too well. The author is often ironical towards him and slightly contemptuous of his unflinching loyalty; he is dealt with sympathetically but as an inferior all the same. Veraswami is not without self-respect. Aziz is proud, and his criticism of the English is often to the point. In A Passage to India the natives and the English have their shortcomings, but on both sides they are human beings with the same faculty of feeling; although at the end Aziz and Fielding are separated by political circumstances, they are not as human beings.

Indians and English are dealt with in exactly the same way. Forster is aware that some features in the Indian character can never win the approval of the English and he brings out the incompatibilities between the two races, but he at least tries to see the Indian point of view. In a time of crisis Flory does not have to wonder where his loyalty lies. The same is true of Orwell, and that is why he can never approach the Burmese from the inside.

In fact, he believes that an important weakness of British rule is that it cannot fathom the Oriental character and often honours the dishonest and wicked while ruining honest people. Finally, though both Orwell and Forster believe Seeking stunning Orwell mixed or black woman the natives are inefficient, Forster suggests that the Indians will one day be able to govern themselves and illustrates this through Mr. There lies the essence of his dilemma: the English system is notably superior to anything the Burmese might achieve but the English are nonetheless committing an injustice, and their position is morally wrong.

The evil sprang partly from the unenviable position of the Anglo-Indians. Added to this was the Philistinism of the Anglo-Indians which made their life uninteresting, devoid of values or Seeking stunning Orwell mixed or black woman and confined to a mediocre conformity. Moreover, except for a minority who were really useful, there were many minor officials who knew that their job could be done just as well by natives, and this gave them a sense of futility.

In comfortless camps, in sweltering offices, in gloomy dak bungalows smelling of dust and earth-oil, they earn perhaps the right to be a little disagreeable. On the contrary, Orwell insists on the limited amount of real power they have and on how much they are at the mercy of the natives. The often-quoted passage in which Orwell explains why he has to kill a valuable animal, s for the feeling of frustration and powerlessness which the rulers were often made to experience:.

And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd — seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.

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He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. The story shows more clearly than Burmese Days how sensitive he was to the sniggering of the natives and how mixed his feelings for them were.

As some of his critics have remarked, he did not foresee that the English would abandon the Empire of their own free will and still continue to draw their dividends. He hated the power which made them oppressors, and because the Burmese were the underdogs, he had to criticize the English. This was his reaction to the end of his life: whether the oppressed were Indians, the unemployed, a political minority in Spain or in Russia, he always stood up for the weaker side.

The ordinarily-accepted view is that Orwell was deeply revolted by what was expected of him as a member of the Burma Police Force and that his subsequent political views were to some extent a consequence of the great revulsion of feeling thereby induced in him. Personally, I consider that this is an over-simplication. It is perfectly true that Orwell was revolted by the brutality necessarily involved in police duties in Burma, as he was revolted by all forms of brutality, and indeed, to a certain extent by authority as such; but it is also true that there was a Kiplingesque side to his character which made him romanticize the Raj and its mystique.

It may be that all they did was evil but they changed the face of the earth, whereas they could have achieved nothing, could not have maintained themselves in power for a single week, if the normal Anglo-Indian outlook had been that of, say, E. Some of his other critics tend to emphasize one or the other feature of his character and show him either as a true conservative or as an uncompromising revolutionary.

But, as Richard Rees suggests, the complexity of his character should never be lost sight of.

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It s for the unresolved tensions in Flory, the pathetic yet not wholly attractive hero of Burmese Days. I had reduced everything to the simple theory that the oppressed are always right and the oppressors always wrong: a mistaken theory but the natural result of being one of the oppressors yourself.

These jobs alternated with periods of tramping which Orwell felt it his duty to go through in order to know what complete destitution really meant:. I wanted to submerge myself. At the time failure seemed to me to be the only virtue. It shows up poverty for exactly what it is: neither a noble condition nor a tragic one but merely a squalid plight which degrades man.

Poverty forces people to resort to the most unlikely devices to subsist or to avoid humiliation; it often reduces them to an animal-like existence exclusively concerned with the attempt to survive. The important thing is that the oppressed in England provided an analogy with the oppressed in Burma: the living conditions which prevailed in some areas or sections of the population further stimulated his sense of responsibility and induced him to question the structure of society. His experience from the time he came back to England to the outbreak of the War provides the basic material for the novels he wrote between and He is not interested in the predicament of young middle-class intellectuals; the issues faced by his characters are those of the average man in modern society, though many of his characters cannot be said to represent the average person.

But the quality of life they experience is that of the majority of people. Lack of faith, hopelessness and fear poison the atmosphere and prevent man from enjoying the simple, decent life to which he is entitled. One evening for no very clear reason except over-tiredness, she loses her memory and leaves her home.

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Ten days later she is found in London wearing old clothes which do not belong to her, and she has been robbed of her money. She s a group of hop-pickers and walks for miles with them begging or stealing her food until she and Nobby, one of the hop-pickers, find work and live in a camp with gypsies and East-enders.

When Nobby is arrested for theft, Dorothy recovers her memory under the shock. After unsuccessful attempts to find a job she lives a few days as a tramp and is arrested. She is eventually rescued when she comes out of court, and she gets a teaching position in a appalling private school. She is dismissed when the headmistress finds a teacher who will bring pupils to her school, but this time an old friend of hers takes her back to the village and offers to marry her.

She refuses him and goes back to a life of drudgery and petty respectability, but she has now lost her faith and must find some justification for her hard work in the gratification to be derived from a well-done task.

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There is no relation between the different episodes of her adventure and no indication at all that it modifies her character or makes her more mature. Yet it is hardly likely that a middle-class girl could go through such experiences and be unaffected by them. They make it possible for Dorothy to enter a world of which people of her kind are usually unaware. It is probably this glimpse of a hopeless, miserable and dishonest world which induces her to go back to an existence that for all its mediocrity is at least secure and decent in the traditional simple way. In all his writings on poverty Orwell makes it clear that the mere struggle to keep alive is a hard full-time job for the very poor.

He shows what a privilege it is to have a job for those who have been out of work. She feels it again in London when she s a group of tramps who spend the night in Trafalgar Square. Orwell never romanticizes poverty but he often heightens its effects by showing the poor caught in nightmarish adventures.

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The atmosphere of the square at night and the sufferings of the tramps are rendered in a short extraordinary one-act dramatic piece. The outcasts seem to be involved in a sort of fantastic ordeal while, actually, their only concern is to keep warm and secure a cup of tea. The complaints of the sufferers nursing their private grievances and remembering better times are delivered against an infernal background created by the blasphemous mass conducted by an unfrocked priest.

Orwell exploits the dream-like quality of the experience to show how far the consciousness of the destitute is affected by their situation. A recurrent theme in his work is that poverty degrades the individual: either lack of food and of a proper place to rest gradually drive him into a sort of unreal state in which the inner and outer worlds become vague and slightly out of focus, and this makes him unable to think clearly; or he is forced to accept unpleasant jobs and to work so hard that, as a result, he has no time for thinking, and his manners degenerate.

Orwell did not believe that poverty can redeem the individual, and he criticized religion for suggesting that it does. The episode is also a documentary on English private schools. Creevey, the headmistress of the fourth-rate school in which Dorothy teaches, declares with frank cynicism that her school is exclusively a money concern:.

The fees come first and everything else comes afterwards. However, the parents are only criticized by the way because they contribute with stupid righteous zeal to the success of one of the worst swindles: paid education, which, so Orwell suggests, often maintains children in ignorance and deprives them of the chance of an adequate preparation for life.

Orwell strongly objected to private schools, whose main concern, he said, was to make money; he was indignant that children should be the victims of this educational system. Even at Eton he personally resented the contempt, real or imaginary, of the paying students towards the scholars.

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