Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant '

951 Words Sep 7th, 2014 4 Pages
According to Oxford English Dictionary, “Power: As a quality or property. Ability to act or affect something strongly; physical or mental strength; might; vigor, energy; effectiveness.” The fundamental basis of all power is control or effectiveness, whether it is submissive, illusive, or oppressive. Is true power the ability to forcefully bend one’s will or is it the ability to sway others gently into submission? He with the iron first, does not necessarily rule. In George Orwell’s “Shooting An Elephant,” the narrator clearly illustrates that power, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. He implicates that power is an illusion of the oppress, and instead held by the oppressed, which ultimately renders the holder impotent.
“Shooting an Elephant” is the story of Orwell’s experience as an officer of the Imperial British government during a stint in Burma. Orwell constructs a parallel between the devastation of Imperialism and the destructive actions of a Burmese elephant. Although Imperialism is justified by the British Empire, in reality, its effects are detrimental to the countries it conquered and to itself. By definition, Imperialism is the domination of one country over another. Imperial England has formal control, but Orwell is forced to examine the true definition of power through his experience. Although he holds the official power as an officer of the government, his abhorrence of the British treatment of the natives, plagues him with guilt and shame ultimately…
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