This story is a representation of George Orwell’s perception of British imperialism around the world. It is a firsthand account of how imperialism affects both rulers and the oppressed using a short story. The author shows how imperialism is a prison to not only the Burmese, but also the British. The message can clearly be seen though Orwell’s regret in being forced to kill an elephant. The purpose of this essay is to explain Orwell’s true message of anti-imperialism using the nature of tyranny and the British Empire as examples.
Well known author and journalist, George Orwell, in his essay, Shooting an Elephant, describes his experiences as a Policeman in Moulmein, Burma during European Imperialism. Orwell’s purpose is to convey the ideal that what is right and what is accepted don’t always align. He adopts a remorseful tone in order to convey to the reader the weight of his actions. By looking at George Orwell’s use of imagery and figurative language, one can see his strongly conflicting opinions on Imperialism.
However, any power given to him through the imperialistic setting is lost, because Orwell exists as a part of a minority in Burma. With this dilemma, Orwell notices the difficulties that come with an authoritative figure in a foreign country as, “[Orwell] was hated by a large number of people- the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.” (144) Due to this hatred, Orwell finds his job to impose order futile because the Burmese people seem to have a tighter grasp on Orwell than Orwell himself. The Burmans appear to be enforcing their power over Orwell through their majority and he experiences this when, “A nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way.” (144) These acts that the Burmans commit show that power appears to exist in the hands of the Burmese majority rather than Orwell. By placing a colonist within a colony, the writer establishes the feeling that power should lie in the hand of the colonist. However, this concept is shattered because Orwell possesses no power though the colonial setting because of the fact that the Burmese appear to be in control. The lack of power present in the surroundings further enforces the fact that true power cannot come from one’s conquest or authority but only from within.
When Orwell was describing the burmese, he wrote “ the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves”. In term of pathos, he uses language in a disgusting way and makes it known that he hates and cannot stand it where he’s at. In the documentary, there’s the positive side of spreading values, prosperity and peace and in a way, imperialism. However, even though this rhetorical piece doesn’t directly relate to the documentary, this is the negative side of Imperialism and how it can impact even the oppressor. Also, in the documentary, it just talks about spreading democracy but what we are blinded to is what happens behind. When America goes into another country to spread democracy, we rarely pay attention to what happens there or what they are actually doing there. There is less care and attention to what goes on behind than compared to attention towards the surface of spreading democracy. Not only that but, also in the text, George Orwell faced continuous mockery and embarrassment in Burma and that resulted in bad suffering for him. In Burma, even as the oppressor, he faced a constant struggle to maintain his power and his authority in front of the Burmese. As a oppressor, one would expect them to have the power and be able to maintain authority in another country but in this text, there is the opposite that is very unexpected. Overall, George Orwell’s experience in Burma represented the other side of Imperialism, which was even the one governing is affected as much as the one who is getting
The first portion of Orwell’s piece is filled with his hatred for imperialism and the “evil-spirited little beasts” (para. 2) that torment him. Orwell hated the imperialism in Burma and “those who tried to make [his] job impossible” (para. 2). You can see his true anger and hatred when he uses diction like “petty”, “sneering”, “wretched”, “intolerable”, and “rage” (para. 1,2) when he’s describing some of his encounters in Burma. Most of all, Orwell just wanted to be liked and respected. He is tired of being punished for the actions of the British empire. He states that like “every white man,.. in the East” (para. 7) he was just living “one long struggle [to] not be laughed at” (para. 7). Orwell’s change in tone forces a change in the reader’s perception of the situation. When he shifts from enraged hatred and hostility towards the eastern world to a desperate want to be liked by the burmans, the reader also has a shift. They go from not only despising imperialism but
George Orwell, who used the pen name Eric Arthur Blair, was born in India in 1903. A British man, who after his education returned to India and became an Imperial
Orwell portrays the vengeful feelings of the Burmese people, the colonized, towards British People, the conqueror. As he has worked as a British officer in Burma, he knows how the natives feel about the British. Of course, it was obvious that the Burmese did not welcome any kind of British presence, including Orwell himself. The Occidentals were extremely mistreated, such as being jeered, and the narrator understood that anti-European feeling was very “bitter” (Orwell, 313). He needed to deal adequately with the native society, even though he was a target of bullying. For instance, he used to get ripped up on the football field, ignored by the referee and mocked by the crowd (Orwell, 313). Hence, he is a victim of the natives’ behavior. Not only is he the target of the native’s behavior, but he is also the victim of the imperial system.
Orwell?s extraordinary style is never displayed better than through the metaphors he uses in this essay. He expresses his conflicting views regarding imperialism through three examples of oppression: by his country, by the Burmese, and by himself on the Burmese. Oppression is shown by Orwell through the burden of servitude placed upon him by England: Orwell himself, against his will, has oppressed many. British Imperialism dominated not only Burma, but also other countries that did not belong to England. At the time it may appear, from the outside, he shows us that the officers were helping the Burmese because they too were against oppressors; however, from the inside he demonstrates that they too were trying to annex other countries. Though Orwell?s handling of this subject is detailed, in the end, he subtly condemns imperialism. Orwell finds himself in a moral predicament no different than the ones placed on the white men in the East. He justifies his actions, driven by the instigation of the Burmese. Orwell also feels forced by the natives to kill the elephant, hindering his
much on the net about Burmese Days that one can look over when getting ready to write an essay. I have provided one I wrote that is about 2 1/2 pages long and outlines some basic themes as well as analyzes the main character. Tell me what you guys think:
The first rhetorical strategy that Orwell utilizes in his essay is his personal experiences of imperialism in Burma in order to appeal to ethos and show the audience that he has witnessed the repercussions of imperialism. Orwell first showcases his hatred towards imperialism by stating “The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans” (Orwell 1). By showing that the native people were
Orwell’s initial descriptions of Burman natives contrast European racism with human empathy, humanizing the narrator and showing internal struggle. Orwell emphasizes this conflict in “I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible” (Paragraph 2). Orwell hates the oppressive nature of the British Empire, yet also disdains the Burmans and feels superiority over them. His moral conscience recognizes imperialism as inhumane, leading for Orwell to despise his duty as the enforcer of it. Orwell feels confined to his role as a helpless enforcer of imperialism, yet hates the Burmans and denotes them as “evil-spirited little beasts”
Taking place in Burma, 1936, George Orwell’s memoir “Shooting an Elephant” explains why Orwell’s job was a disgrace to him. Because of Orwell being British, he was hated, targeted, insulted, and under pressure. Orwell was “all for the Burmese and all against their oppressor, the British.” He has a bitterness of feeling toward being the colonial policeman and the town’s people who tried to make his job “impossible.”
While he writes, Orwell symbolizes the harsh evils of imperialism through his own character. Both Orwell and the imperialistic British government are young, foolish, and driven by hate. This hatred becomes so intense that Orwell begins to not only hate the British and the Burmese, but eventually himself for the decisions he makes. He also symbolizes the guilt and resentment that he feels inside. It starts with his overwhelming guilt that splits his loyalties in two. Then it is his passionate resentment towards the British which in turn, grows to not only the British, but the majority of the Burmese people. And lastly, Orwell also represents his own realization to his surroundings. In the story Orwell says, “I perceived in this moment that when a white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys” (327). He finally realizes that neither he nor the imperialistic government are in control, that the Burmese will never conform, and that the people’s will always
Under the impression my brain was misfiring due to total brain overload, I found my way to www.george-orwell.org, where I found a wealth of information. According to the website, George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair, son of Richard and Ida Blair and brother of elder sister, Marjorie. In 1903, the year of his birth, Blair was born in Motihari, Bengal, in India, which was under British rule at the time. Just a year after his birth, he and his mother moved to England, while his father stayed in Bengal to continue his work in the Opium Department of the Civil Service (www.george-orwell.org). The next time he saw his father was several years later, when Eric was nearing the age of starting school. His father returned to India to continue his work, and the next time Eric saw him, he was nearly ten years old and had a younger sister named
The writing of the memoir, “Shooting an Elephant”, by George Orwell, was published in the year of 1936, a critical point of British imperialism. Imperialism during this time consisted of the spread in power through despotism in many native lands and cultures. Taking place in Burma, while British rule was still at large, the story follows the events Orwell experienced while stationed as a sub-divisional police officer in a Native Burmese town. In vivid description, Orwell expresses his hatred and shame of playing a part in the British Empire through the account of it’s effect on the Burmese: “...the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos----all these oppressed me with an