People often do favors to please others, even if it means a loss of dignity. George Orwell’s short story, “Shooting an Elephant”, is an ideal example. In the story, Orwell, the main character, works as a policeman in Burma in the 1930s for the British Empire. One day, an elephant tramples loose, and although Orwell has no intent on shooting the elephant, a mob of native Burmese pressures Orwell to shoot the elephant. He reluctantly acquiesces to prevent being humiliated. After that experience, Orwell writes “Shooting an Elephant” to demonstrate native resentment of the British through mood, to reveal the tyranny of imperialism and its effects on the natives through imagery, and to informs the reality of the natives manipulating the British through foreboding diction. All of these purposes support Orwell’s ultimate purpose of ending imperialism and colonization.
Orwell sets a mood of resentment in the exposition by revealing the animosity felt by the natives about foreign rule. He starts off the story stating, “IN MOULMEIN, IN LOWER BURMA, I was hated by large numbers of people--the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me” (Orwell 1). In the first sentence of the story, Orwell reveals the negative mood and setting, which signifies their utmost importance. This bitter aura shows that Orwell is unpopular with the natives, and tensions between them runs high. In fact these feelings are so detrimental to Orwell, he almost goes insane.