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To Shoot An Elephant Summary

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In George Orwell’s “To Shoot an Elephant” the reader is teleported to Southeast Asia; Orwell writes from the perspective of an English police officer for a British colony in Burma. It is quickly made known to the reader that with the Imperialistic nature of the British Empire, the people of Burma give the English colonist a stigma. This stigma causes our narrator to be jeered and laughed upon by the native people, which causes him to in turn have a hatred towards the Burmese. So instead of properly doing his job as an officer, he would rather avoid contact with the indigenous people. Until, one fateful day; a captivated elephant gets loose during mating season. Since the elephant is in heat it indirectly begins to wreak havoc, now with all eyes on the narrator, he now must do something. He is sent out to defuse the situation without killing the animal, but the situation ends with a bullet riddled elephant from our narrator’s rifle. Flash-forward some years and now the narrator, during a midlife crisis, is looking back on the events of the incident in Burma. So, was our narrator the victim? Was he justified in shooting the elephant? Does our narrator resolve his midlife crisis after looking back on his actions as a youth?
I whole-heartedly believe that “To Shoot an Elephant” told the is a classic piece of literature. When reading it for the first time through, I felt that the narrator was the oppressing force in the narrative. But with the second read through I came to
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