This study explores how English writers falsely portray the indigenous people of the British colonies in novels. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, in particular, authors of Imperialist fiction often misrepresent natives in the British colonies as deviant, detestable, deplorable beings that lack moral compasses. By researching the fields of literature, history, education, and cultural studies, I will examine how George Orwell’s novel Burmese Days distorts descriptions of the Burmese people. Previous studies on Burmese Days focus mainly on misrepresentations of the Burmese as a homogenous race; however, my research will encompass how literary distortions target multiple ethnic Burmese tribes and how the British imperial curriculum further perpetuates prejudice against the Burmese in colleges and universities throughout the British Empire. Through inaccurate teachings, college English professors and secondary school professors propagate the notion that European races are superior to the indigenous people of Burma. I will focus primarily on British imperialism, the imperial curriculum, and postcolonial studies to substantiate how Orwell’s novel had and continues to have a profound influence on how readers view the Burmese. I argue that the pedagogy of all literature is scrutinized through multiple fields of study to uncover any altered or invented versions of history about non-European people and their culture. Educators who teach Burmese Days must present students with material from other disciplines to give readers the information they need to comprehend the Burmese and their culture better and to reduce the continual perpetuation of racism in education.
Dr. Kimberly Davis, Thesis Director
Dr. Allyson Ferrante, Committee Member
Dr. Benjamin Carson, Committee Member
Copyright and Permissions
Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Paradis, Cyi Gyi. (2018). “Racial Repercussions of The British Imperial Curriculum:” Misperceptions of the Natives in George Orwell’s Burmese Days. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 424. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/424
Copyright © 2018 Cyi Gyi Paradis