Orwell portrays the vengeful feelings of the Burmese people, the colonized, towards British People, the conqueror. As he has worked as a British officer in Burma, he knows how the natives feel about the British. Of course, it was obvious that the Burmese did not welcome any kind of British presence, including Orwell himself. The Occidentals were extremely mistreated, such as being jeered, and the narrator understood that anti-European feeling was very “bitter” (Orwell, 313). He needed to deal adequately with the native society, even though he was a target of bullying. For instance, he used to get ripped up on the football field, ignored by the referee and mocked by the crowd (Orwell, 313). Hence, he is a victim of the natives’ behavior. Not only is he the target of the native’s behavior, but he is also the victim of the imperial system.
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.
Actions with which would be more expected of the European imperialists rather than the Burmese people themselves. He clearly states his contempt for Imperialism through the following statement on his life and job: "All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred for the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible.” (1). He uses the rhetorical device of figurative language to give the reader a strong image of his feeling towards the Burmese people by using the metaphor of comparing humans to “evil-spirited little beasts” (1). To further emphasize his point, Orwell previously writes “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 bogged with bamboos--all these oppressed me with an intolerable guilt."(1). The use of “grey, cowed faces” (1) and “stinking cages of the lock-ups” (1) portray the
The first portion of Orwell’s piece is filled with his hatred for imperialism and the “evil-spirited little beasts” (para. 2) that torment him. Orwell hated the imperialism in Burma and “those who tried to make [his] job impossible” (para. 2). You can see his true anger and hatred when he uses diction like “petty”, “sneering”, “wretched”, “intolerable”, and “rage” (para. 1,2) when he’s describing some of his encounters in Burma. Most of all, Orwell just wanted to be liked and respected. He is tired of being punished for the actions of the British empire. He states that like “every white man,.. in the East” (para. 7) he was just living “one long struggle [to] not be laughed at” (para. 7). Orwell’s change in tone forces a change in the reader’s perception of the situation. When he shifts from enraged hatred and hostility towards the eastern world to a desperate want to be liked by the burmans, the reader also has a shift. They go from not only despising imperialism but
As society has progressed, the evolution of imperialism has come to a point where people see it has pure history. It has vanished from our daily lives as we have not recently witness a country trying to dominate another. In “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell, we are able to envision the lives of the Burmese as they were involuntarily controlled by the British. In the early 1900’s we are told a true story of Orwell himself where he was once established in Burma was apart of his military service. During his service, he describes his living situation by noting that the army as well as himself were not appreciated. He mentions, “As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so.”(1) One day he
All the fuss, actions he was encouraged to make, lead back to his job he had to do, which was one he despised. Orwell’s introduction makes it very clear he doesn't not like being a police officer and especially does not like imperialism. “For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better.” (Orwell,1963,pg. 1) He wanted nothing to do with imperialism, he was all for the Burmese. He didn't believe in the cruel ways the British had forced him to act on. His words are spread among many sentences created this harsh tone. He was furious he was considered part of the imperialism. He was in the group though, and being part of this came with responsibility and standards. Orwell had to prove he was worthy and could hold up his end
The essay “Shooting an Elephant,” by George Orwell is about a particular day the narrator was living in British occupied Burma. The author tells about an event that still bothers him, in which he had a choice in whether or not to shoot and kill an elephant. The episode seems to still haunt him years later. The author seemed to write the essay in part to help himself cope with the act that he had committed. By his own admission, the narrator divulges that he does not share the same beliefs as the powerful government that he represents.
Two of Orwell’s first literary works were his essays regarding his experiences as a policeman in Burma during imperialization from Europe. These essays include “A Hanging” and “Shooting an Elephant.” In these essays, he shows his clear disagreement of oppression, even while working for the oppressors. Orwell writes
Beyond the use of metaphorical techniques, Orwell also uses vivid imagery to the strongest extent, to further his stand against the imperial forces. Under the oppression of British imperialism, the Burmese people become “wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts” (Orwell 285). Orwell applies
In “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell, he confesses to the hatred of an imperialistic India that causes him to go against his beliefs while receiving no respect. At this time Burma was under British control with the use of imperialism. George Orwell was an English police officer serving in Burma, India and hating each aspect of his time there. He was hated by all the Burma, just for being British, but George Orwell was not necessarily mad, for he sided with the Burma people. He hated the idea of imperialism because it turned people against themselves. However, he didn’t like the Burma people either because they had no respect for him. They would purposely humiliate him in soccer games by knocking him over or standing making jokes. He still
Because of the unjust colonization, there is a battle between cultures. The British represent a more technologically advanced people that come to industrialize while the Burmese represent a weak industrial-less civilization. The Burmese hate the British and the British accommodate with the Burmese. For example, Orwell does not want to kill the elephant, but the crowd does and in the end kills it due to the crowd. He personifies the animal and perceives its emotions of its horrific death at his own inhumane hands, but the crowd easily take the elephant’s flesh moments after it falls. The crowd’s appetite for bloodshed and brutality conflicts with Orwell’s hope to avoid violence entirely. The secondary culture clash that is clear is an internal
Orwell begins the story by claiming his perspective on British Imperialism. He says that it is evil and he is fully against the oppressors. Though he is actually a British officer himself he feels hatred and guilt towards himself, his empire, and the Burma people. Talking about his thoughts and feelings toward Imperialism gives deeper meaning to the rest of the story as it highlights why he dislikes it so much. He already establishes the fact that his character is weak since he lets the Burma people laugh at him and play him for a fool. The build up of finding the elephant is a metaphor in itself showcasing the destructive power of imperialism. Orwell uses other metaphors when he compares himself to being a magician about to perform a trick, or the lead actor in a piece, an absurd puppet or a posing dummy, holding the “magic rifle”. I like to think of this story as a lesson to learn from. This story clearly states that people will do anything to avoid being embarrassed. We should be open to other people's opinions but follow our instincts and not let others make decisions for us. This story is also teaching us to look at the pros and cons of a situation very carefully. As I was reading this I realized this is a very deep truth to rationalization and the impact that peer pressure has on your decision making process. No matter who you are or what you do, every single human on planet Earth cares what people think especially when it's thousands and they have the power to make
The behavior of people in societies where another group is in power is something that has displayed itself in the many imperialist societies throughout history. Orwell attempts to bring light to these behaviors through the time period of “Shooting an Elephant”. In the time period of this story, Burma is a colony of Britain. Because of the historical basis and major themes of the story, George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” communicates the emotions and reactions of people who are under certain societal influences and higher levels of power. People in these imperialist systems are often given rigid roles to uphold which causes them to act in a very specific way, doing only what they are told.
He claims he was hated, yet he seems to ignore that the minor discomforts of his life, the jeers and taunts and negligible hurts and humiliation, constitute the extent of Burmese ability to express their unhappiness. He notes, “No one had the guts to raise a riot” (2605), failing to recognize that not bravery is lacking but rather knowledge of the punishment sure to follow such action. He regrets that he must kill the elephant, but he elides further exploration of potential alternatives, immediately rejecting other ways such as testing the elephant’s behavior to predict its reaction (2609). Not only does Orwell’s own essay reveal that he is not victim but rather someone in power, but also, scholars agree that Orwell is not the victim he perceives himself to be.