Show Less
Restricted access

George Orwell Now!

Preface by Richard Blair, Son of George Orwell

Series:

Edited By Richard Lance Keeble

George Orwell remains an iconic figure today – even though he died in 1950. His dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four depicts a Big Brother society in which the state intrudes into the most intimate details of people’s lives – and, not surprisingly, it became a constant reference point after Edward Snowden’s revelations. The word «Orwellian» is constantly in the media – used either as a pejorative adjective to evoke totalitarian terror or as a complimentary adjective to mean «displaying outspoken intellectual honesty». Interest in Orwell’s life and writings – globally – continues unabated.
Beginning with a preface by Richard Blair, Orwell’s son, George Orwell Now! brings together thirteen chapters by leading international scholars in four thematic sections:
• Peter Marks on Orwell and the history of surveillance studies; Florian Zollmann on Nineteen Eighty-Four in 2014; Henk Vynckier on Orwell’s collecting project; and Adam Stock on ‘Big Brother’s Literary Offspring’
• Paul Anderson «In Defence of Bernard Crick»; Luke Seaber on the «London Section of Down and Out in Paris and London»; John Newsinger on «Orwell’s Socialism»; and Philip Bounds on «Orwell and the Anti-Austerity Left in Britain»
• Marina Remy on the «Writing of Otherness in Burmese Days and Keep the Aspidistra Flying»; Sreya Mallika Datta and Utsa Mukherjee on «Reassessing Ambivalence in Orwell’s Burma»; and Shu-chu Wei on Orwell’s Animal Farm alongside Chen Jo-his’s Mayor Yin
• Tim Crook on «Orwell and the Radio Imagination»; and editor Richard Lance Keeble on «Orwell and the War Reporter’s Imagination»
Peter Stansky, in an afterword, argues that Orwell is now more relevant than ever before.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter Ten: ‘Pukka Sahibs’ and ‘Yellow Faces’: Reassessing Ambivalence in Orwell’s Burma

Extract

| 161 →

CHAPTER TEN

‘Pukka Sahibs’ AND ‘Yellow Faces’

Reassessing Ambivalence in Orwell’s Burma

SREYA MALLIKA DATTA AND UTSA MUKHERJEE



‘You’ve got to be a pukka sahib or die, in this country.’

—ORWELL (2009 [1934]: 42)

In a private conversation with the Indian Dr. Veraswami, John Flory, timber merchant and main protagonist of George Orwell’s Burmese Days, succinctly puts forth a statement that may serve as the point of entry through which we can re-evaluate the politics of the colonial project in early twentieth century Burma. This chapter seeks to engage with the dynamics of race, gender and ‘modernity’ through the lens of Postcolonial Studies, focusing on Orwell’s writings on Burma including his novel Burmese Days and some of his essays such as ‘Shooting an Elephant’ (1968 [1936]). Orwell is a British writer whose chronicling of the Burmese way of life has its own set of ambivalences. The chapter examines Orwell’s works on colonial Burma in order to analyze the interactions between the ‘colonizer’ and the ‘colonized’ and to scrutinize the gaps and incongruences within this curiously ambivalent sphere. As a postcolonial critique of Orwell’s works on colonial Burma, the chapter looks into the problem of the distorted tropes of identification and the slippages in stereotyping which reveal the inconsistencies in the colonial authoritative discourse, thus preventing an ‘essentialization’ of the colonial exchange. Orwell’s writings provide a telescopic view of the multiple possibilities of a...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.