Orwell and Colonialism

541 Words3 Pages
Orwell and Colonialism I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool." So ends George Orwell's poignant reminiscence of an incident representing the imperialist British in Burma. Unlike Soyinka, who wrote about colonialism from the African's point of view, Orwell, like Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, presents the moral dilemmas of the imperialist. Orwell served with the Imperialist Police in Burma while it was still part of the British Commonwealth and Empire. His service from 1922 to 1927 burdened himwith a sense of guilt about British colonialism as well a need to make some personal expiation for it (Norton 2259). "Shooting an Elephant" chronicles an incident in which Orwell confronts a moral dilemma and abandons his morals to escape the mockery of the native Burmans. He repeatedly shoots and kills an elephant which had ravaged a bazaar and scared many Burmans even though "As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him" (6). Orwell's moral conflict stems from his positi...
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