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modern history II essay

modern history II essay - Kane Kanagawa Modern History II...

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Kane Kanagawa Modern History II Imperialism: A Channel For Malice? George Orwell’s classic novel, Burmese Days , successfully captures the cultural and racial struggle between British imperialism and the native citizens of Burma throughout the early 20 th century. As reflected through the demeanor of the characters, the story occurs during the peak of British ethnocentrism. This superiority of white power is embodied within the European Club of Kyauktada, a highly selective, exclusively white “group” that exists as both the social and political focus of the town. More importantly, however, the European Club serves as a symbol of corrupt imperialistic power and an avenue through which amorality inevitably succeeds. The creation of such a club is the imperialists’ attempt to establish a distinct social hierarchy within Kyauktada. Only the highest-ranking officials are granted membership, which, upon use, solidifies superior social status. Non-whites’ inability to join works to reinforces the racial hierarchy and serves as a reminder that the Burmese natives have little to no influence on society. The Club consists of a mere seven members, whose reputations have been so glorified by the Club that they are treated like royalty throughout all of Kyauktada. Yet for each major character, the Club holds a distinct meaning that is specific to their individual interests and beliefs. For P.W. Ellis, an obnoxiously racist manager of a timber company, the European Club represents an ideal social environment of racial purity, which he claims is essential for the perpetuation of imperialism. In response to the proposition that a non-white may enter the club, Ellis explodes and begins to rant: “No
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natives in this Club! It's by constantly giving way over small things like that that we've ruined the Empire. The country's only rotten with sedition because we've been too soft with them. The only possible policy is to treat 'em like the dirt they are” (31).
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