British Colonial Society in Lessing and Orwell Comparison Essay by Nicky

British Colonial Society in Lessing and Orwell
A comparison of the books "The Grass is Singing" by Doris Lessing and "Burmese Days" by George Orwell.
# 144903 | 2,112 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Oct 15, 2010 in History (African) , History (Asian) , History (British) , Literature (English)

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The paper compares and contrasts the representations of colonial society in Lessing's "The Grass is Singing" and Orwell's "Burmese Days". The paper shows how although Orwell's novel takes place in Burma, and Lessing's in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, and they portray very different characters, they both paint a chilling picture of colonial society and its terrrible effects on natives living in these British colonies.

From the Paper:

Orwell's novel opens with the description of a Burmese official, and paints a picture of a corrupt and vicious man, something that seems to be taken for granted in Burma, at least to the English. He writes, "As a magistrate his methods were simple. Even for the vastest bribe he would never sell the decision of a case, because he knew that a magistrate who gives wrong judgments is caught sooner or later. His practice, a much safer one, was to take bribes from both sides and then decide the case on strictly legal grounds" (Orwell, 6). Lessing's novel, on the other hand, opens with the murder of a white settler, and something about it is not quite right. Both the novels share a dim view of the natives, whom they subjugate and demean. Orwell continues, "His brain, though cunning, was quite barbaric, and it never worked except for some definite end; mere meditation was beyond him" (Orwell 8). Both authors clearly do not think much of the natives or their abilities, and Mary is especially cruel to her native servants, which may have prompted one to kill her.

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Lessing, Doris. The Grass is Singing. New York: Harper Perennial, 2000.
  • Orwell, George. Burmese Days. San Diego, CA: Harvest Books, 1962.

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

British Colonial Society in Lessing and Orwell (2010, October 15) Retrieved June 09, 2023, from

MLA Format

"British Colonial Society in Lessing and Orwell" 15 October 2010. Web. 09 June. 2023. <>