The two books of reference, A Land So Strange and Burmese Days have entirely different aims and storylines. A Land So Strange, written by Andres Resendez, is a true story in which four stranded men originally on a colonizing expedition around in North America during the 16th century. These circumstances forced these men to interact with the Natives on equal ground to survive. Burmese day is a historical fiction based on the experience of the author George Orwell as an Imperial Policemen in the british empire through an eye opening story of colonial life in Burma during the 20th century. The Resendez aim is to reconstruct the true tale that was an amazing accomplishment two very opposing worlds seeing eye to eye, and Orwell’s aim is to reveal the dark side and hard truth of colonialism. Nonetheless the two books give a detailed look into colonial life at different points in time and provide a sound look into the people involved in the practice. My argument from examining the events and characters of these two stories is that
Colonialism was a corrupt enterprise based in greed and imperial views that tended to bring out the worser qualities of people because it made them falsely believe that they were better or lesser than others.
In A Land So Strange highlights the faults of racial superior views and the incompatibility of colonialism with good intentions. The expedition of the Spaniards takes a turn for the worse when they lose the power to dominate over the Natives. The chief advantages, weapons and horses, were ultimately sacrifice due to dwindling necessities and resources (Resendez 11112). In irony, the Europeans were becoming everything they detested in the Natives. As Narvaez, the leader of the expedition, and other colonists in defense of colonialism had argue, “Natives do not have the capacity to remain by themselves” (Resendez 22). However in reality when cut off from their support from their empire and power previously held, Narvaez and his men were proven incapable of surviving by themselves without any help.
Things deteriorated even further for them when they were reduced to being slaves of Natives (Rendez 143). For the three main characters who were high standing Spaniards, Cabeza de Vaca, Andres Dorantes, and Alonso del Castillo, and the rest of the Europeans this must have been a major blow to their ego and the unthinkable to them; however, for the slave owned by Dorantes, Estebanico, not much had changed besides the fact that his master and other Europeans were now slaves too (Resendez 146, 147). However these four men ultimately outlasted the 300 men that began this expedition. Beginning at this low point of enslavement gave them an opportunity to navigate this world, not from a position of power, but from a position of equal footing.
This new form of interacting with Natives required the Spaniards and Estebanico to actually learn the lifestyles and language of Natives (Resendez 3). In this way the Spaniards would manage to navigate and negotiate with Natives through much peaceful ways and with understandings that reached far beyond the boundaries colonialism ever could (Resendez 3). However these notions of equality only existed in this world. Once the men returned to civilization, it became apparent that the notion of a peaceful life with the natives wasn’t compatible with the greed and imperialistic views of colonialism. Choosing the former would mean they would have to give up their own places of comfort in their own world, and Castillo and Dorantes chose the latter (Resendez 223). However, Cabeza de Vaca and Estebanico had trouble adjusting back into civilization. Once Cabeza de Vaca returned to society, he would be filled with the passionate belief that he could establish a “peaceful colonization” despite the majority of the world moving in the opposite direction (Resendez 218). However the its was an utter failure because the europeans under his rules were looking to profit and it constituted them no benefit to try and understand the Natives as he did. For Estebanico, he returned to North America leading a colonizing party and was rewarded again by the Natives who recognized him as there former ‘medicine man’ (Resendez 225). The gifts presented to him and the fact that the India’s recognized his former high position most likely heightened his ego and greediness. However his fatale mistake was that by no longer playing his revered role as a “medicine man”, he had very little to offer the Natives now who grew tired of his greediness and killed him (Resendez 226).
Burmese days paints a dismal picture of colonial life in Burma that shows people all around adversely affected. Following the story of Flory, one of the Europeans at odds with the true nature of colonialism, Orwell reveals the amounted decay colonialism had on both the Europeans that lived there and Burmese people. Though Flory for some pointed Enjoyed the pleasure of living in colonial Burma, stated that “he did not want to exchange The Europeans in the story have very few redeeming features and try to cling to everything that could escaped them from a reality that miserable in many affects. As Flory described this corrupted life stating how
These books show that the practice of a colonialism was a double edged sword in that it was detrimental to not only for the colonized people but for the people who ruled over the colonized as well. Europeans benefited from both the wealth gained and domination over their colonies Europeans depicted colonialism as a virtuous endeavor on the non European world. However driven by the developments, the economics and the racial views of the time, the practice ultimately empowered a greedy system designed to obtain glory and wealthy hidden under the pretense of goodwill. The facade was used to cover the selfish greed and obvious racism. Likewise, people who were colonized gained benefits that their colonizers granted such as better technology, education, and medicine. Nonetheless, it came at a high cost which was the sacrifice of their freedom, cultural identity, wealth, and prospects of ever achieving higher than an European. The effects on both the colonizer and colonized were synonymous in that it was soul corrupting affair and it left no place for moral righteousness and merit as we know it.