Shooting An Elephant Language Analysis

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“Shooting an Elephant,” by George Orwell, is an interesting story at most. It incorporates politics, culture, reality and more while Orwell reflects on an experience in his past. This experience, a true experience, takes place in British Burma, while he was a part of the Imperial Police. Orwell, as the narrator, tells how he personally experienced the imperialism in Burma, and to coming upon an elephant ravaging a bazaar. Upon reading “Shooting an Elephant,” Orwell uses three literary devices: tone, irony, and imagery. Each literary device connects together to help recount and captivate a time of Orwell in Burma. For the first literary device, tone, Orwell uses multiple tones to build his attitude and feelings towards imperialism. Imperialism…show more content…
Imperialism was to make British stronger and more powerful but in instances that Orwell describes, imperialism was actually limiting power. The first sentence of “Shooting an Elephant,” proves this as Orwell exclaims, “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.” (909). This is ironic because Orwell was important by hatred, not power, downplaying the effects of imperialism. The story becomes increasingly ironic when Orwell plans on not killing the elephant after when he finds it peacefully eating in a field, after ravaging the bazaar. But, the native people crowd in when they see Orwell with his gun and hence expect him to kill it. They press him forward into shooting the calm elephant, and bit by bit, Orwell looses any power he might have. “Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd- seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.” (Orwell 915). So, it was by the power of the Burman people who pushed Orwell into murdering the elephant. Orwell comes to an ironic conclusion that because a Coolie happened to die because of being killed by…show more content…
His story recounts his time in Burma and when he had no choice but to shoot an elephant. Upon reading “Shooting an Elephant,” Orwell uses three literary devices; tone, irony, and imagery. Orwell faced imperialism at its worst and he uses tone to emphasize how he was in true opposition towards it. While the imperialism was supposed to make the British stronger, at times it was actually making them weaker. Orwell makes sure to get that point across by using irony. Last and not least, Orwell uses strong imagery to paint a picture of imperialism and its effects upon himself and the native people. As seen, each literary device connects together to help recount and captivate a time of Orwell in
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