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
The consequence of imperialism is discussed in “Shooting an Elephant”; The victim of imperialism is not only the natives but also the narrator. Indeed, this essay is about the suffering and the struggling of Orwell who is torn between the Burmese’s actions and the Imperial System.
“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
Imperialism is the action of a country taking over another country. There are various reasons as to why nations seek to imperialize other countries. This action is done due to economic, exploratory, ethnocentric, political and religious reasons (Potter lecture). Most nations seek to grow their own nation in power, while others seek to help others grow. Imperialism first started in 1870, when Europe wanted to take over most of Africa. Imperialism is sometimes justified because sometimes other nations can help the more needy nations, but other times it is just complete chaos.
“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.
The quest for power is one which has been etched into the minds of men throughout history. However, it can be said that true power is not a result of one’s actions but comes from the following one’s own beliefs without being influenced by others. This principle sets up the story for Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell. The protagonist, Orwell himself, is a sub divisional police officer in Burma, a British colony. Orwell must try to find and use his inner power when he is faced with the decision of whether or not to kill an elephant which has ravaged the Burman’s homes. The state of power established through the imperialistic backdrop show that Orwell, as a colonist, should be in control. As well, the perspective and ideas given by Orwell
Imperialism is a recurring theme in the history of the world. Stronger countries see themselves as superior to other societies and believe their ways are right. They force religion, government, and practices on countless foreign lands. At the very end of the nineteenth
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
Europeans were encouraged and convinced that the white race was superior due to the evolution ideologies theorized by Charles Darwin, the well renowned scientist. A British imperialist in Africa, Cecil Rhodes, exemplifies these false interpretations in Confessions of Faith, published in 1877. She arrogantly states that “[Britons] are the finest race in the world, and the more of the world we inhabit, the better it is for the human race”. She then continues to express that colonizing is their duty because they would also be expanding the “Anglo-Saxon race”, assuming to “better the world.” The enforcers were blinded by their self inflated thoughts to realize the damage they caused. In 1903, a report made by Roger Casement, an Irish human activist and anti-imperialist, interviewed African natives on the colonialism. One quoted Congo Basin chief, Moyo, “our country has not many people in it and we are dying fast. We are killed by the work you make us do, but the stoppage of our plantations, and the breakin up of our homes”. This proves the harsh reality colonizers were putting into effect on the natives. They only cared about the land resources they could gain to benefit themselves and enslaved the natives to do the dirty labor. The racial bias was a lousy excuse to acquire territory and was a problematic factor of progressive force during the new imperialism which lead to the killings of innocent
Imperialism has been one of the most powerful forces in human history, serving to set the foundation of our modern world. While this has led to the formation of a global society where cultures, ideas, and innovations are spread across countries, imperialism has also left a history of exploitation, racism, and violence that is still affecting the world today. Imperial relationships are always imbalanced when it comes to power and influence; that is, one group (known as the metropole) maintains authority and control over another group (known as the periphery) with economic, political, and cultural dominance (Spiegel 2012). There are many reasons why one group chooses to dominate the other, such as expanding territory, extracting raw resources to fuel economic development, or to spread their beliefs (i.e. religion) (Spiegel 2012). In spite of these varied reasons, one of the main motivators for imperialism began with competition between empires.
“Imperialism is the creation and maintenance of an unequal cultural, economic, and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination. Imperialism functions by subordinating groups of people and territories and extracting everything of value from the colonized people and territories” - unsetting Americans. (https://unsettlingamerica.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/cultural-appreciation-or-cultural-appropriation/) They are talking about being harmful and unequal but they are just the same. They are talking about how their ancestors killed some people but they have no fault in it. History is the past and the generation now has nothing to do with
This quote, stated by Ludwig von Mises, presents the idea that imperialism has led to the most unjustified bloodshed in all of human history. This quote deals with whether the bloodshed caused by Imperialism is justifiable or not. I find Ludwig von Mises’ perspective on imperialism agreeable because I think killing and conquering people is morally wrong. Imperialism has affected many nations politically, economically and socially.
In Shooting an Elephant, Orwell introduces the reality of a country, such as England, whose expansionist doctrine results in the suppression and mistreatment of the native inhabitants in their colonies. The short story is narrated by a British police officer stationed in Burma, a British occupied territory. The story begins with an acknowledgement of the horrible conditions in which the Burmese people live and the officer describes his own hatred towards Britain for causing such a state, “The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos” (Orwell). By having a British officer admit the flaws in Britain’s imperial system, Orwell is telling his readers that the system of imperialism is so cruel that even those who reap the benefits of imperialism don’t approve of it. Through this Orwell points out the double sided nature of the imperial system, “This paradox governs the of the men who serve the system.