Analytical Summary Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell Essay

Good Essays

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

Get Access
Get Access