An Exploration of British Injustice in Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

An Exploration of British Injustice in Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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. By the type of language and the choice of words that the author used to write his essay, it is very likely that it was written for the British people, to make them aware of the injustice and cruelty of Imperialism in the colonies. The author’s aim is to make the reader feel disturbed and uneasy by describing in detail his negative experiences in India. This rhetorical analysis explores the success of the author in portraying the negative impact that Imperialism had on those being governed under it, but also on the impact on those in power. The way Orwell used the words for describing the scene of shooting the elephant, his aim was to get the reader’s mind to understand the injustice of Britain’s rule over the natives. While Shooting an Elephant explored Imperialism explicitly, it implicitly explores the strong power that social pressure can have over the decisions one makes.
Working as a police officer for the British Empire in Burma, Orwell was hated by many there. Even though Orwell worked for the British, he was notorious for working against British injustice. Orwell is well known for several essays and stories portraying his discomfort and true feelings about Imperialism. By knowing this information about his background, it is easy to spot ethos, the literary strategy that gives credibility to his words. Being a person of the law, working for the British Empire --as he was-- it is logical to trust in his arguments about imperialism. Orwell makes clear his logos from the beginning of the essay by giving reasons on why Imperialism was not good by using the phrase “imperialism was an evil thing” (Orwell, 407). From the beginning, it is easy to see that the narrator is struggling with his true feelings. On one hand, he was “a...


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...o notice he did wrong by shooting the elephant. He uncovered the truth of why he shot the elephant to stop his audience from looking at him as a hero, but as a simple, imperfect human being.
With Shooting an Elephant, Orwell reveals to his audience how this incident with the elephant gave him a “better glimpse than [he] had before of the real nature of imperialism — the real motives for which despotic governments act” (Orwell, 407). With the use of the literary strategies of logos, ethos and pathos, as well as, the use of images and symbolism, Orwell take us on a journey by successfully portraying his arguments on how imperialism effects everyone involved. Shooting an Elephant does more than just show the negative effects of Imperialism. By the careful use of words and descriptions, Orwell expands his argument to describe the effect that pressure has on people.



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