Shooting an Elephant and The Man Who Would Be King

2534 Words11 Pages
Moral Authority and the Ultimate Fate of Imperialism The 1800’s staged the universal dissemination and climax of British imperialism, thereby destructing and reconstructing the world into a new order. It is ordinary to depict the British as overindulgent consumerists, and the natives as magnanimous servers of the Empire, though history suggests that imperialism was not a mere black and white affair. It is certain that imperialism unjustly exhausted global resources and is therefore deserving of its condemnation. Yet, actual experiences of the time, as told by British men propel the reader to reevaluate the role of British moral authority during colonial times. The Man Who Would Be King (1888) by Rudyard Kipling and Shooting An Elephant (1936) by George Orwell are two such commentaries on imperialism in British India. The former is a novelette, narrated by a newspaper man and tells the journey of two determined Englishmen (Carnehan and Dravot) from inconspicuous “loafers” in India to godlike kings in Kafiristan. The latter recounts the story of a young British officer (Orwell), who served as a police to the Indian Imperial Police in Lower Burma. Kipling and Orwell narrate similar overarching themes such as the injustice of British imperialism and its inflicted misery both on the conquered and on the conqueror. Their motives and reactions to imperialism, however, are highly varied given their external conflicts with the Empire and the natives also vary. These stories by Orwell and Kipling conclude as symbolic mockeries of imperialism and its ultimate failure, thereby portraying the mixed elements of British nationalism during imperialism. The Man Who Would Be King and Shooting An Elephant clearly illustrate the injustice and oppr... ... middle of paper ... ...lly be resolved. References Orwell, George. "Shooting an Elephant." London: New Writing. 1936. Print. Kipling, Rudyard. The Man Who Would Be King. New York: Melville House Pubishing, Print. Havel, Václav, and Paul Wilson. "How Europe Could Fail." The New York Review of Books: 1993. Print. Zdenek, Mlynar, and Paul Wilson. Nightfrost in Prague: The End of Humane Socialism. New York: Karz Publishers, 1968. Print. Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization: A Brief History Since 1500. Fifth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2008. Print. Frederick the Great. "An Essay on the Forms of Government and the Duties of Ruler." Web. Documents the Prussian Monarchy: Lukasiewicz, Julius. Ignorance Explosion: Understanding Industrial Civilization. Canada: McGill-Queen's Press, 1994. Print.

More about Shooting an Elephant and The Man Who Would Be King

Open Document