Racism Through Social Action
George Orwell’s Burmese Days is a fascinating story as it describes the relationship between racism and colonialism by looking at the social code of the Europeans, present in Burma at that time. During the course of the novel, Orwell demonstrates that racism has been integrated into social actions because of the existence of colonialism. Orwell also clearly portrays the powerful influence of the social norms. Racism has been so deeply ingrained into the social code that it has virtually become impossible for anyone to be able to reverse this.
Orwell discloses the true motives of colonialism through the figure of Flory; an important character in Burmese Days as Orwell uses him to criticize the social behavior of the colonial society present in Burma at that time. During Flory’s debate with his friend Dr. Veraswami, he clearly reveals the true intentions of the British by saying that the “British Empire is simply a device for giving trade monopolies to the English” (p40). Flory believes that the British are not there in Burma to improve the country but for monetary gain. Therefore, the British use racism during colonialism to hide their true intentions. Through this conversation, we can realize the incredible influence that social code has had over people. Therefore, we can clearly figure out that racism has become a part of daily life at that time in Burma i.e. people are racist without them even meaning it.
Analyzing Flory further, we know that he disagrees with the social behavior of the Europeans towards the natives, but still does follow this path of social conduct when he has been pressurized into a decision. With a complete understanding that Dr. Veraswami’s future lies in becoming a member of the European Club, Flory signs a piece of paper saying that his friend should not be elected. He does this because “refusal would have meant a row with Ellis and Westfield” and so he finds it “easier to insult his friend” (p63)....