Read Dias na Birmânia by George Orwell Free Online
Book Title: Dias na Birmânia|
The author of the book: George Orwell
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 426 KB
Edition: Companhia das Letras
Date of issue: January 29th 2008
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Read full description of the books Dias na Birmânia:Totally rewritten 19th May 2013.
Set in the days of the Empire, with the British ruling in Burma, this book describes corruption and imperial bigotry. Although this was Orwell's first book and no doubt based in part on his experiences in his first job as a policeman in Burma, his talent is already fully developed, the writing is superb, the characterisations rounded and lively. Another of his stories from this time and location is also a favourite of mine, Shooting an Elephant
Burmese Days is essentially all about a load of unlikeable, vapid people who belong to an extremely boring club where nothing happens except occasional arguments and a lot of drinking. Now why would anyone want to be a member of a club like that? Because it is a colonial society where the whites run everything and the native people, no matter what their status in the local community, have no overt power and can't even get into a club full of stupid men whose only attribute is that they are white, the ruling class. But if they could get in, then they would have power by association.
The club is told they have to elect one local member. Two men try to get in. One, the honest and straightforward Dr. Veraswami, tries to get his good friend, John Flory, an English timber merchant and the main character, to use his influence on the club members. But Flory, a rather unattractive character who isn't prejudiced but is weak and so won't support the good doctor against the club members he so thoroughly dislikes but, because of race and class, identifies with. The other man, the slimy, sociopathic U Po Kyin,is prepared to wreck Veraswami's character and livelihood and see many lives be ruined and people die just in order to put himself in such a position that he becomes the only possible candidate. Then there is the love interest, another shallow, dislikeable character who can't attract anyone back home so she's been sent husband-shopping into a place where any single white woman is a rare orchid. Even her.
I read the book very tongue in cheek because I also live in a colonial society (but I am either beyond the pale or have the right credentials depending on what side you are on, as I married into a local, black family. A top political family at that). The thing for locals to get into is the yacht club and the local rescue association, neither of which admit locals unless they are top politicians or lawyers and therefore useful or at least, best not offended. But as political power on the island is all in black hands, the snobbery of the yacht club is ignored but the racism noted.
A while back, one of the islands, a private island resort, the sort you can helicopter into, wouldn't let blacks in as guests. The only ones there were the workers, none in managerial or even supervisory positions. A government minister sailed his very impressive 60' yacht there, anchored and dinghied to the beach. The beach staff (black, of course, but from poorer islands, so they didn't recognise him) wouldn't let him stay, told him it was against management policy, didn't believe he owned the yacht and threw him off.
The following week, the island was quite suddenly sold to a company with quite different policies. Result! Now we can all sail up for free on their guest ferry for Sunday lunch (reasonable price, but the price of the drinks...) or a very pleasant, if expensive dinner, hanging out with the millionaires and pretending to be one for the day. Everyone is welcome.
But what happened to the club in India, to the service organisations in the Caribbean? They are all run by posh locals now who apply their own rules for membership. Sometimes they are generous and everyone is welcome, but sometimes they continue the inherited snobbery and racism of the club founders, just from the other side not being any more liberal than their predecessors.
We have the girls who come husband-shopping too. Admin staff and secretaries they are looking for white guys far from home who might go out with but would never marry a local girl and so they are the rare orchids with a two year plan contract in which to snag their man and a modified version of Jane Austen's first line in Pride and Prejudice as their mantra, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a banker or accountant in possession of an obscenely large salary must be in want of a white wife."
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose*.
Read 2012. Review rewritten 2013 and 2015. Maybe next year too.
*(view spoiler)[The more things change, the more they stay the same (hide spoiler)]
Read information about the authorEric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.
In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a a police officer with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922-1927 and fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1937. Orwell was severely wounded when he was shot through his throat. Later the organization that he had joined when he joined the Republican cause,The Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM), was painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organization (Trotsky was Joseph Stalin's enemy) and disbanded. Orwell and his wife were accused of "rabid Trotskyism" and tried in absentia in Barcelona, along with other leaders of the POUM, in 1938. However by then they had escaped from Spain and returned to England.
Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary editor of the Tribune, a weekly left-wing magazine. He was a prolific polemical journalist, article writer, literary critic, reviewer, poet and writer of fiction, and, considered perhaps the twentieth century's best chronicler of English culture.
Orwell is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949) and the satirical novella Animal Farm (1945) — they have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author. His 1938 book Homage to Catalonia, an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War, together with numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture, are widely acclaimed.
Orwell's influence on contemporary culture, popular and political, continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms, along with the term "Orwellian" — now a byword for any oppressive or manipulative social phenomenon opposed to a free society — have entered the vernacular.
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