How was Orwell treated by the local Burmese?

1 Answer | Add Yours

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Orwell was serving as a police officer in Burma which was then under the British Empire. The Burmese people were opposed to the imperialism and viewed all Europeans in disdain.

No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress.

The Burmese people were unable to retaliate but they still expressed their deep seated sentiments, especially towards the officers who they were in constant contact. The Burmese people insulted the Europeans whenever it was possible and safe to do so.

At one point, Orwell was tripped by a Burmese man when playing football but the Burmese referee looked the other away, much to the amusement of the crowd. The Burmese people were disrespectful towards him because of who he was and the work he did. Due to the animosity between the Burmese and the Europeans, Orwell was also a likely subject of ridicule and contempt among the people. This perception from the people eventually forced him to shoot the elephant, even though he knew that it was an extreme action given the state of the animal at the time.

I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.


We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question