George Orwell’s Burmese Days is not a well-crafted tale, nor is it compelling; however it does remain a vivid portrait of Orwell’s own Colonial days in Burma.
Brutally vivid, it serves as a clear reminder of how civilized the English have never been: No natives in this club! It’s by constantly giving way over the small things that we’ve ruined the Empire. The only policy is to treat ’em like the dirt they are. It’s an English tradition to booze together and swap meals and pretend to be friends, though we all hate each other like poison. Hanging together, we call it. We should all go mad and kill one another in a week if it weren’t for that. Booze is the cement of the empire. Most grotesquely compelling of all is Orwell’s portrayal of the English hunt, first shooting birds from trees: Flory took one of the little green corpses to show to Elizabeth. ‘Look at it. Aren’t they lovely things? The most beautiful bird in Asia.’ Later, they corner a leopard: The leopard was writhing along on his belly, sobbing as he went. Flory leveled his gun and fired at four yards distance. The leopard jumped like a cushion when one hits it, then rolled over, curled up and lay still. Flory poked the body with his gun-barrel.