In “Shooting an Elephant,” Orwell retold an occasion where he was struggling to come to a final decision of whether to shoot the elephant or not. With his final decision, the elephant finally lay dying in front of thousands of people. He said that he was forced to shoot it because the Burmese people were expecting him to do that. In addition, he also explained that he had to do it “to avoid looking like a fool” in front of the crowd (14). At first glance, one would think that it makes sense for him to kill the elephant to save his face, but that was not the case. He effectively uses this incident to demonstrate the “real nature of imperialism” (3), whereas the elephant represents the British Empire.
Colonial exploitation was carried out through three distinct phases over time. The first phase of mercantilism, which took place between 1757 and 1813, was one of direct plunder in which surplus Indian revenues were used to buy Indian finished goods to be exported back to Britain (Modern India 2010). In the second phase, from 1813 to 1858, India was converted into a source of raw material and a market for British goods. The third and final phase from 1858 onwards, was one of finance imperialism in which British capital began to control Indian banks, foreign trading firms and managing agencies in India. This phased exploitation was carried out through a range of economic policies, primarily in the industrial and agricultural sectors of the colonial economy of India (Modern History 2010).
“Englishmen.. have given the people of India the greatest human blessing - peace.” (Dutt). Merely coming to India in the 1600s to trade, the British East India Company established trading outposts. After ridding of French influence in India during the Seven Years’ War and having Indians mutiny against British rule, Britain gained full control of India. India has been under the imperialist control of the British until their independence in 1947. British imperialism caused some negative effects on India through poverty and persecution, but retained more of a positive impact due to its massive improvements in the modernization of India and the overall improvement of Indian civilization.
Orwell abandons his morals and kills the elephant to garner the approval of the Burmans. He feels compelled to shoot the animal because the Burmans "did not like me, but with the magical rifle in
Did you know in the 17th century India was one of the richest countries in the world? British imperialism began with the fall of the Mughal Dynasty in 1757. The East India Company noticed the Mughal Dynasty collapsing and took advantage of it. Robert Clive led his troops to victory, taking over India. Although many Indians were killed, British imperialism led India on the right path to success. The British developed a government and brought the nation together. They developed railways and infrastructure throughout India and provided jobs to those who searched for them. The idea of national parks came along and protected wildlife from going extinct.
Orwell recalls an event that happened to him while he was a British police officer in Burma. One day in Burma, Orwell receives a report that an elephant has gone a “must”. While investigating, he hears the screams of terrified children. Orwell rushes to the scene and discovers the corpse of an Indian with obvious elephant foot markings all over his body. When Orwell finally tracks down the elephant, “he was tearing up bunches of grass, beating them against his knees to clean them and stuffing them into his mouth” (Orwell 279). Orwell immediately realizes he shouldn’t shoot it, because the elephant is tame and calm. In addition to the behavior of the elephant, Orwell also considers how shooting the elephant would affect its owner, because a working elephant is worth 100 euros alive versus a measly 5 euros dead. Although Orwell believes the elephant is “no more dangerous than a cow”, he ultimately chooses to let his perceived thoughts of the crowd force him to take action opposite of his personal beliefs (Orwell 280). Instead of reaping the benefits of his beliefs, Orwell pays a consequence for his
Through this grim tone, Orwell explains his encounter with a “must” elephant that has killed a man, and because of his crime, the Burmese locals request Orwell to shoot and kill the elephant. Describing the gruesome scene,
One day, an elephant broke free from it’s chains and in a fit of “must” began ravaging the bazaar. The Burmese were without weapons, so they had little defense against the beast. Thus, Orwell set out to find it with a rifle much too small to any damage. It was not until, the elephant killed a man that Orwell sent for an elephant rifle. However, upon seeing the elephant rifle the natives went into a frenzy, excited to see the beast killed, but more excited for the meat. The narrator had no intention of shooting the elephant, for once he found it, it was peacefully eating grass, its “must” already wearing off. In the moment, Orwell knew he should not shoot the animal, it was a source of income for someone, an expensive piece of machinery. However, with the crowd of two thousand standing behind him, this choice was far from easy. It is here where the paradox of imperialism begins. Despite Orwell being the one with the rifle and technically being in charge, he feels powerless against the natives. It was in that moment that the author realizes when a man “becomes a tyrant, it is his own freedom that he destroys.” Orwell eventually chose to slay the elephant with multiple gunshots, much to the natives pleasure. To wrap up the story, Orwell explains that he simply shot the elephant to avoid looking a
Throughout the process of shooting the elephant, Orwell’s attitude drastically changes as he pulls the trigger and the massive beast plunges to the ground. Orwell says “When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick-one never does when a shot goes home” (Orwell 11). This mindset tells the reader, as Orwell went to pull the trigger his mind went blank because he knew he was going to be successful at killing the elephant even though that was the last thing he wanted to do. Then the devilish roar of the elephant with glee of the crowd brought him back to real time and shows, how the cruelty brought happiness to the crowd. After the bullets hit the elephant, the tortured breathing continued to slowly annoy Orwell, as he reminded himself of why he did it.
George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, narrated the story of him shooting a “must” elephant when he was a police officer in Burma. He was both, furious of the Burmese men and hated the British imperialism. The locals always mocked him and cheated him as he was an European. Orwell, one day, was told of an elephant which had been rampaging across the “bazaar”. He took his rifle along with him and set out to the town, to find more details and to analyze the situation. On his way, he learnt that the “must” elephant had broken its chains and escaped on the previous night. The elephant’s caretaker who had gone in pursuit of the elephant had taken the wrong direction and was twelve hours away. He also came to know that the elephant had caused so much damage, which also included the destruction of a hut, stall and
In the narrative, “Shooting an Elephant”, George Orwell reflects on the topic of an elephant’s execution. He states that the Dispute between the Decree and One's Inner Voice associates with British imperialism. The essay is planted in the British colony Burma in the 1920’s. Orwell is a British policeman currently working in Burma. He has never had the best alliance with the natives. He is an out of place white foreigner. The action soon takes a toll when an elephant goes crazed and kills a native Burmese man. However soon after the elephant calms but Orwell refuses to kill it. In addition, thousands of people are crowded behind him waiting for him to do so. He goes back in forth with his mind but keeps going back to the yellow-faced people's
George Orwell starts his essay Shooting an Elephant by clearing stating his point of view about British Imperialism. He says that it is evil and that he is for the Burmese and was against their oppressors, the British. Even though Orwell is a British officer at the time, he feels guilt and hatred for his empire, himself and the “evil spirted beast who made his job impossible,” the Burma people. Orwell writes about not just his own experiences with the elephant but the metaphors imperialism and his views on the matter.
The essay describes the experience of the English narrator, possibly Orwell himself, called upon to shoot an aggressive elephant while working as a police officer in Burma. Because the locals expect him to do the job, he does so against his better judgment, his anguish increased by the elephant 's slow and painful death. The story is regarded as a metaphor for British imperialism, and for Orwell 's view that "when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys."
In “Shooting an Elephant,” Orwell faces a dilemma: whether or not to kill the elephant. With his final decision, the elephant finally lays dead in front of thousands of people. He explains that he was forced to shoot it because the Burmese people were expecting him to do that. In addition, he has to do it “to avoid looking like a fool” (14) in front of the crowd. At first glance, one would think that it makes sense for him to kill the elephant to save his face, but that was not the case. He effectively uses this incident to demonstrate the “real nature of imperialism” (3), where the elephant represents the British Empire.
British East India Company played a significant yet strange part in the Indian. It was, at its inception, a commercial venture in the history of The British Empire, which was established in the year 1600 in the subcontinent. The main reason for entering the subcontinent was trade, making money and importing spices from South Asia. It was the Portuguese who used all their skills and their navigational technology to enter this great area first, and start trade in the most profitable manner they could. East India Company entered as an early and old-fashioned venture, and conducted a separate business with their private stockholders. Their approach and their trade lasted for many years until year 1657 (Farrington 5), when they made their base