Shooting An Elephant Analysis

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In some cases, literature may illustrate the idea that individuals are required to blindly follow custom or tradition based upon the fact that it has always been expected. On the other hand, a text may illustrate what happens when one goes against societal expectations. In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” both of these ideas are actually true. George Orwell attacks Colonialism and Imperialism in his story “Shooting an Elephant.” The glorious days of the imperial giants have passed, marking the death of the infamous and grandiose era of imperialism. In George Orwell's essay, “Shooting an Elephant”, Imperialism is the evil in the story. The unjust shooting of an elephant in Orwell's story is the central focus from which Orwell builds his argument through the two dominant characters, the elephant and its executioner. Shooting an Elephant was written by George Orwell. Even though the narrator is not stated, in a sense the narrator of the story is Orwell when he first started his carrier as a British Officer. In the story, the narrator is a British Officer who is always getting made fun of in the town of Burma. He gets picked on mostly because he is an imperialist who at that time were trying to oppress Burma. An accident occurs which forces the narrator to inspect what was going on. The accident that the narrator explains was that an elephant had escaped and was going crazy around the lower part of Burma. While the elephant went on a rampage it ended up squishing a man on the street and the narrator was forced to kill the animal. He finds the elephant in a paddy field. When he sees the elephant, he does not think that it could have done anything bad because it looked so peaceful. While he was deciding if he was going to kill ... ... middle of paper ... ... as Orwell’s commentary on the duality of Imperialism was pertinent during his life time, Americans and all of society can apply his ideal to world events today. The soldier in “Shooting an Elephant” is not that different from soldiers of today. The soldiers of today were in Afghanistan to “protect” the people from their own Afghanis. The real reason why U.S soldiers were in Afghanistan was because the U.S wanted the oil so they vowed to protect them. The question of whether they are protecting or assimilating still exists. Are countries using the pretense of protecting countries to further their own selfish agenda? Did the shooter kill the elephant to protect the people of the village or to further his own acceptance of the village? Did he follow custom or make his own future? These questions apply to Imperialism of Orwell’s time and to our own society today.

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