Analysis Of A Hanging And Shooting An Elephant

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George Orwell is known for his brilliant work concerning his strong political and social beliefs. His essays, “A Hanging” and “Shooting an Elephant”, written five and ten years after working for the British Empire in India, were written as a portrayal of his regret for his past inaction against imperialism. In both instances, Orwell intentionally depicts himself as compliant to the Law of the Empire in India as he wants to explore the subject of imperialism from the perspective of the established authoritative figure as well as one of the Natives. His ambivalent ways are emphasized in these works in hopes of making its readers more sympathetic to the Indian cause as the narrator himself begins to doubt his own understanding of good and evil. The British perceived the Indian population as uncivilized and weak. As such, Orwell describes them to have “no weapons and [being] quite helpless against [an elephant]” (“Shooting an Elephant”, p.2). Through the eyes of the Empire, imperialism was the better alternative in comparison to the established Native customs. Nonetheless, they failed to recognize their exploitation of both cultural and civil aspects of Native society. In “A Hanging” and “Shooting an Elephant”, this domination is clearly depicted throughout the entire essay, persisting in the smallest details. In resorting to name-calling, such as “yellow faces” (“Shooting an Elephant”, p.3) and “evil-spirited little beasts” (“Shooting an Elephant”, p.1), to their attitudes towards them, “think of all the pain and trouble you are causing to us!” (“A Hanging”, p.4), the British’s feeling of superiority is manifested. Indeed, the English authorities have the impression that they are the persecuted ones when they are, in fact, ruling over a land that does not belong to them. In the beginning of “Shooting an Elephant”, Orwell clearly defines his opinion of imperialism. However, it is quickly contradicted by his actions. His compliance with the Law of the Empire in the story expresses the duality behind the concepts of right and wrong. From the beginning of “Shooting an Elephant”, this ambiguity is present as the narrator states: “For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil

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