Rhetorical Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant '

Better Essays

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,

Get Access