Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant ' Essay

Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant ' Essay

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The essay “Shooting an Elephant,” was written by George Orwell. Orwell was a British author best known for his essays and novels. In “Shooting an Elephant,” the title essay of his 1950 collection, Orwell is a British Police Officer in Lower Burma. After an elephant comes rampaging through the village in must, killing an Indian man, Orwell is looked upon to take care of the problem. The intense scene causes Orwell to make a crucial decision, reflecting on the vicious imperialism with the military in Burma during this time. The author portrays his feelings through the theme of the narrative with feelings such as, guilt, hate, and pressured.
One feeling that is carried out through the end of the narrative is guilt. Orwell despised his job as he stated, “I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British.” (323) In a job like Orwell’s at the time, he got to see the dirty work of the empire at close quarters. As Orwell states, “The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos-all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt.” (323) Orwell despised being associated with the British police; that did such cruel things to the Burmese. However, another instance with a sense of guilt was when Orwell finally makes the decision to pull the trigger. The vast animal of course not going down with just one bullet is shot three times suffering a cruel death. Part of Orwell’s motivation behind shooting the elephant was to not feel embarrassed, or do the wrong thing with some two thousand Burmese standing behind him. As Orwell stated, “To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thou...


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...ma during this time; the Burmese were not mutual with the British, especially Police Officers. However, hatred comes from both Orwell and the Burmese. Everything Orwell did in Burma was to fulfil his duty as a British Police Officer, even if that meant going against his personal beliefs; that imperialism is wrong. As Orwell stated, “Theoretically-and secretly of course-I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British.” (323) So, Orwell had a sense of hatred towards the British as did the Burmese. The Burmese had a hatred feeling towards Britain’s intrusion on taking over Burma. They were treated poorly by the British. The intense feeling was how immensely Orwell was under pressure. He at last had the support of some two thousand Burmese-their mere presence pushes Orwell to make a decision against his own just to save face with the populous.

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