Rhetorical Analysis of George Orwell’s
“Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell, a journalist and an author of 1903 through 1950, is not only the author of “Shooting an Elephant,” but surprisingly, he is also the narrator and the main character. Orwell’s narrative essay of 1936 takes place in squalid, British-occupied Moulmein, lower Burma. To begin, in the opening of his piece, Orwell describes himself as a young, British police officer who, ironically, despises the British imperial project in Burma. Although he secretly sides with the Burmese, he is resentful of the way they torment him. Eventually, a previously chained elephant is introduced to the essay. It is when this elephant escapes that it begins ravaging Moulmein. After concluding …show more content…
Additionally, since the elephant itself represents a significant motif, as well as the shooting of the elephant being the climax, the elephant perhaps contains some of the most essential examples of visual imagery in the essay. For instance, after Orwell shoots the elephant for the third time, he describes its effect in considerable detail. "But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upwards like a huge rock toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree" (par. 11). Within this quotation, the audience witnesses an impressive creature being sacrificed for the sake of imperial pride through descriptive phrases such as, “…tower upwards like a huge rock toppling…” and “…his trunk reaching skyward like a tree.” In other words, the cruel effects of imperialism that Orwell is attempting to convey come alive in the moments of the elephant’s gruesome death. In brief, Orwell’s intense use of vivid imagery allow for crucial mental images to develop in his audience’s mind, therefore, effectively conveying his message.
Even before finishing the first paragraph of “Shooting an Elephant,” one can clearly recognize Orwell’s inclusion of first-person point of view. Furthermore, since Orwell’s essay is written in first-person point of view,
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.
He repeats over and again that he did not want to shoot the elephant. He confesses, “It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. I had never shot an elephant and never wanted to.” Orwell gives emotional reasons for being against the idea of shooting the animal and not rational. He generalizes all elephants to have a “preoccupied grandmotherly air” and compares the elephant to a cow. The writer uses the simile, “They were watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a trick.” to explain the pressure he had from the crowd watching him. Orwell remarks that regardless of his decision to shoot the elephant, he cannot change the thinking of the public about him. Orwell was moved by the hefty crowd that followed him. He was left with no choice other than to shoot the elephant because that was what the crowd expected of him and this scene signifies the failure of imperialism which is the writer’s overall theme. The sentence, “I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East.” helps explain to the reader the real failure of imperialism. Orwell insists that although the white man in the East has power which is symbolized by the rifle, he is still not allowed to make use of it in accordance with his will. He is classifying imperialism as a hollow and futile way of governance. The Englishmen
“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
George Orwell began the essay with his perspective on British domination. He stated that it is evil and alongside of that it is oppressive. He felt hatred and guilt toward himself and the Burmese people. The people of Burma did not feel threatened because the narrator of the story had killed the elephant. The Burmese people have lost their dignity and integrity while trying to fight off the British imperialism. Orwell uses allegories to describe his experience of the British imperialism and he had his own view of the matter of slaying the elephant. He successfully used ethos, pathos, and logos by attracting the audience to read his story. He had to make a scene in the story to make the people of Burma feel the same emotion. The elephant was the one reason why it makes this story emotional. He used logos to show that he can kill the elephant even if he does not want to so that it does not make him look fool.
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
In the essay ?Shooting an Elephant? by George Orwell, the author uses metaphors to represent his feelings on imperialism, the internal conflict between his personal morals, and his duty to his country. Orwell demonstrates his perspectives and feelings about imperialism.and its effects on his duty to the white man?s reputation. He seemingly blends his opinions and subjects into one, making the style of this essay generally very simple but also keeps it strong enough to merit numerous interpretations. Orwell expresses his conflicting views regarding imperialism throughout the essay by using three examples of oppression and by deliberatly using his introspection on
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.
George Orwell’s 1930 short story “Shooting an Elephant,” demonstrates the total dangers of the unlimited authority a state has and the astounding presentment of “future dystopia”. In the story, Orwell finds himself to be in an intricate situation that involves an elephant. Not only does the fate of the elephant’s life lie in Orwell’s hands, he has an audience of people behind him cheering him on, making his decision much more difficult to make. Due to the vast crowd surrounding his thoughts, Orwell kills the elephant in the end, not wanting to disappoint the people of Burma. Orwell captures the hearts of readers by revealing the struggles he has while dealing with the burden of his own beliefs and morals.
In this novel Orwell effectively uses 1st person point of view to show the mental change the narrator underwent throughout the course of the story. By the reader having such an in depth point of view in this novel, you are able to see the reasoning and logic that leads to this change in the narrator's ideology. In the beginning when the narrator went to get his rifle he states, “ I took my rifle, an old 44 Winchester and much too small to kill an elephant, but I thought the noise might be useful in terrorem”(Orwell 571). By the narrator stating this in the beginning, it shows he truly did not want to harm the elephant. Also from the statements, “ I had no intention of shooting the elephant, I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary”(Orwell 573) and, “As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him”(Orwell 573), the reader is able to tell initially he had no intention of harming the animal, but was overcame by peer pressure. The point of view is effective in showing this, because in first
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