Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant '

1798 Words8 Pages
Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell is an essay mainly describing a white British imperial police officer’s experience in Burma when he encounters a ravaging elephant while he was on duty. The story is set in the British-conquered Burma. Throughout this essay, the narrator describes his encounters with the natives and the way he feels towards them and how they they respond to the Europeans. Through the description and portrayal of imperialism the narrator attempts to convey that being a conqueror does not necessarily mean having total control, as the conquered might have control over the conqueror, but in a different way.
As a police officer, the narrator was hated by many people. This hatred was common among the inhabitants in Moulmein. The narrator actually thought that “imperialism was an evil thing,” and he was “all for the Burmese and all against the oppressors” (109). However, due to his status, it makes him a subject of hate. This sympathy toward the oppressed and the hate toward the oppressors “oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt” (109-110). This shows that the people sent to do the dirty work were in a sense puppets of the government or the people in charge, as some of them did not like what they were doing, but the natives did not know this and for them the Europeans were all the same and therefore they had an anti-European mindset.
Imperialism can be interpreted in different ways: some may view it as a noble and prestigious thing in which the
Get Access