The short story begins by directly introducing readers to the setting and main character: “In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people--the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town…” . The opening lines also set the conflict in the story, as we find out the police officer does not get along with the locals.

The story stands out through the fact that the exposition includes the narrator’s lengthy reflection on the British Empire and his conflict with the locals:

…made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically--and secretly, of course--I was all for the Burmese and all ag…

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