Reader Essay

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QUOTE | RESPONSE | “No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress. As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so” | “the guts” is very informal language that hints to the reader that the author feels bitter towards both the Indians and his situation as a European officer. While he has the power to subdue riots, he cannot control the small and infuriating everyday provocations that the natives inflict upon the Europeans. These two sentences also hold some irony; usually police officers are not thought of as targets, so wording the opposite in such a way reinforces the bitter and sarcastic tone. The author does not enjoy his position as an imperial policeman. | “When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than once. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves.” | This is the first example in a string of concatenated diction throughout the essay. The hideous laughter and sneering yellow faces provide not only vividly unpleasant imagery, but they establish the author’s fear and intense dislike of being laughed at. This is especially evident in regards to being laughed at by crowds, since he refers to them collectively as the yellow faces. The synecdoche is rather derogatory and it lumps the Indians together in a single phrase that shows both his resentment and his fear of them | “As for the job I was doing, I hated it more than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the

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