Analytical Summary Shooting an Elephant Shooting an Elephant, written by George Orwell, is a short autobiographical essay about an incident that occurred during the time of his service as a police officer in Burma. The essay is centered around an event in which Orwell was forced to shoot an elephant against his own wishes. Using this episode which resulted in the clash between his own personal beliefs and the expectations of those around him, Orwell sends a message that imperialism is a lose-lose game that hurts the oppressed, as well as the oppressor. Furthermore, he indirectly advises the readers to act according to one’s personal wishes, not those of others. The essay starts with the description that the narrator, Orwell, is a …show more content…
Realizing the severity of the situation, he sends an orderly to get an elephant rifle and heads towards a paddy field where the elephant rests, followed by a large crowd of people.
To his surprise, the elephant is shockingly quiet and peaceful; this makes Orwell lose the will to kill the beast. However, he realizes that the massive crowd, which was growing around him, was eagerly waiting for him to shoot the elephant. Faced with a dilemma, Orwell ponders for a while, but succumbs to the pressure and shoots the elephant numerous times in order to save face. Unable to see the suffering animal die, he leaves the scene. His decision to shoot the elephant turns out to be controversial among his peers; older men supported his decision, while the younger men argued that a coolie wasn’t worthy enough to justify killing an elephant. Orwell ends the essay with a contemplation of relief that his actions were legally justified, although he ponders whether other people would be able to understand that his sole purpose for shooting the elephant was to avoid looking like a fool. The author’s message is quite clear throughout the essay: imperialism is evil. It is quite obvious that imperialists oppress and restrict the freedom of the natives. Orwell strengthens this message by highlighting the suffering of the dying elephant, as the elephant is clearly a metaphor for the Burmese people. We can deduce this from the fact that there
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As a European white man in the British colony of India, George Orwell, in his narrative essay Shooting an Elephant, describes one of his most memorable events while living in the Southeast Asian nation of Burma. Orwell’s purpose is to share the absolute horror of living in imperialism. He adopts a tense tone throughout his essay by using vivid description and gruesome imagery in order to relate the incident with the elephant to what it is like to live in imperialism.
George Orwell’s ‘Shooting an Elephant’ (Orwel, 1936) represents a number of strangers being involved in a combined encounter. The situation throughout the essay represents the unjust British occupation of Burma, the hatred towards him as a British officer and the elephant symbolising the British. The part of the text chosen clearly exemplifies how a forced duty can lead to hatred. The text chosen displays that he is forced to encounter the Burmese people yet they despise him. Although the encounter with the Burmese improves with the arrival of the elephant, Orwell still has a sense of isolation. Throughout the text Orwell questions the presence of the British in the East exploring that the encounter with the Burmese should not have took place.
George Orwell describes to us in “Shooting an elephant” the struggle that his character faces when to win the mobs approval and respect when he shoots down an innocent animal and sacrifices what he believes to be right. Orwell is a police officer in Moulmein, during the period of the British occupation of Burma. An escaped elephant gives him the opportunity to prove himself in front of his people and to be able to become a “somebody” on the social
“Shooting an Elephant” is an essay written by George Orwell, first published in the journal New Writing in 1936. In this essay, the author tells his own story about when he was working as a police officer for the Indian Imperial Police in Burma.
“Shooting an Elephant” is an essay written by George Orwell, who was an Assistant Superintendent in the British Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927. The essay was published in 1936. Burma was occupied by the British over a period of 62 years (1823-1886) and it was directed as a province of India until it became a separate colony in 1937. In the essay, Orwell narrates the scene of the killing of an elephant in Burma and expresses the feelings that he goes through during the event. The writer’s theme is that imperialism is not an effective way of governing. It can be decoded through his
“Shooting an Elephant” is a short anecdote written by George Orwell. The story depicts a young man, Orwell, who has to decide whether to bend the rules for his superiors or to follow his own path. George Orwell works as the sub-divisional police officer of Moulmein, a town in the British colony of Burma. He, along with the rest of the English military are disrespected by the Burmese due to the English invading their territory and taking over. Over time, Orwell, the narrator, has already begun to question the presence of the British in the Far East. He states, theoretically and secretly, he was “all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British.” Orwell describes himself as “young and ill-educated,” bitterly hating his job. Orwell uses powerful imagery and diction to convey a depressing and sadistic tone to the story. At the end of the story, he faces a dilemma: to kill the elephant or not.
Upon seeing the rifle, a huge crowd started to follow him. He had no intention to kill the elephant. However, the crowd was expecting him to shoot it. They did not want to kill it because it had destroyed the bazaar, but rather to enjoy the fun and to get the elephant meat. The crowd’s expectation leaves Orwell no choice but to shoot the elephant. He points out that he had to shoot it to “impress the ‘natives’” (7). If he had not done it, the crowd would have laugh at him, and it would hurt his pride as a white man living in the East. In the end, he decided to trigger the gun and shot the elephant.
George Orwell who wrote a narrative essay Shooting an Elephant” has a tense tone of literature towards his life. He is using a stressed tone due to peer pressure, and lack of confidence toward himself as he is an imperialist who came to protect uphold the laws. He's difficult attitude sets the scene for the story in his eyes. Throughout the story the concept of his decisions and action will be projected through the uses of diction; the write words to express his feelings.
As Orwell glanced at the growing crowd, he instantly perceived the common desires of the people “They were watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a trick. They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching. And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all” (3).These people wanted revenge for the death of the innocent man, the meat its carcass would provide, and the amusement of witnessing the shootings “The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly” (3). Because of these collective expectations, Orwell had to appear determined, authoritative, and decisive through shooting the elephant or else his reputation and the rest of the British colonizers’ reputation would be
THESIS: Although Orwell is justified, legally shooting the elephant is wrong because, the elephants “must” period was over, the way the animal was shot caused the animal to suffer, and Orwell violated his own beliefs because of peer pressure.
In “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell achieves two achievements : he shows us his personal experience and his expression while he was in Burma; he use the metaphor of the elephant to explain to describe what Burma looked like when it was under the British Imperialism. The special about this essay is that Orwell tells us a story not only to see the experience that he had in Burma; he also perfectly uses the metaphor of the elephant to give us deep information about the Imperialism. By going through this essay, we can deeply understand what he thinks in his head. He successfully uses the word choices and the sentences to express his feeling. By reading this essay, Orwell succeeds us with his mesmerizing sentences and shows us the
Orwell next faces the moral dilemma of whether or not to shoot the elephant. At first, it is clear that he does not feel the internal urge to shoot the elephant: "It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him" (Orwell.525). However, Orwell's virtue becomes dwarfed as the Burmese's "two thousand wills [press him] forward"(524) to kill the elephant. At this point there is an obvious role reversal as the Burmese begin to strongly influence Orwells decisions. Because he constantly dwells on what the crowd will think of him he shoots the elephant. Thus submitting to the will of the people and committing the immoral deed of abandoning ones own conscious because of the pressure of others.
In conclusion George Orwell essay “ Shooting An Elephant” expresses through his language that pride was something that pushed him to pull the trigger even though if it had been him alone he would have never pulled it. He also showed through his use of colour language and imagery the regret he feels for shooting the
Shooting an Elephant, by George Orwell, is a short story about British colonialism in South Asia, during the 1900s. Orwell was inspired to write this story from his own experiences as part of the Indian Imperial Police for the British Empire (Eilers). Most readers often forget that law enforcers do not follow orders blindly and that they do contemplate the orders that are given to them. Orwell’s accounts gives readers a unique perspective of the dichotomy of living as an enforcer for the oppressive British rule, alongside the oppressed, but tantalizing Burmese. This short story is not only about an elephant being shot, but also about shifts in power and the importance of nationalism in colonial
Orwell employs symbolism as a major literary technique, aiding our understanding of his stance against colonialism and our understanding of the setting. From the start, it is clear that he represents the modern, the western industrial English, at complete odds with the rural and primitive Burmese. It is believed that the focal symbolic point would be the narrators stand against the elephant. In the paragraph in which the narrator fires at the elephant, it is seen as docile, not bothering anyone anymore and having only made a sporadic wrong. The narrator then fires at the quite calm elephant once, but it does not fall and so, while it is still weak, he fires two more shots, bringing the magnificent creature down. Burma (The country in which the story is situated) has a long history of wars with the British Empire before finally giving in to Colonialism; three wars to be exact. It can be seen in the history books that Burma only wronged the British in a minor way and in fact was not directly bothering the British Raj and much like the narrator, it