The theme in this short autobiographical essay deeply affects the entire story. Being unwanted had an enormous impact on Orwell. George Orwell lived in lower Burma where he was a sub- divisional police officer. Sadly, most of the towns inhabitants had a strong dislike for him because of the color of his skin, white. Orwell had to endure cruel insults and hurtful embarrassments. The harmless police officer was miserable and wanted to fit it with the people he was to protect. One day an incident occurred that called upon Orwells assistance, an elephant was on a rampage.
Behaving against his own wishes damaged him. Orwell brought along a rifle on his manhunt to end the elephants disturbance. As soon as he had seen the giant creature he was certain he was not going to shoot him. One ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided. George was sure that animals attack phase was already wearing off.
Therefore why the need to shoot it? To please his fellow townspeople. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts.
The original text plus a side-by-side modern translation of every Shakespeare play. LitCharts From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell. Download this Lit Guide! Characters All Characters George Orwell. Themes and Colors Key. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Shooting an Elephant , which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
George Orwell works as the sub-divisional police officer of Moulmein, a town in the British colony of Burma. Because he is, like the rest of the English, a military occupier, he is hated by much of the village. Though the Burmese never stage a full revolt, they express their disgust by harassing Europeans at every opportunity. Burmese trip Orwell during soccer games and hurl insults at him as he walks down the street.
The young Buddhist priests torment him the most. From the outset, Orwell establishes that the power dynamics in colonial Burma are far from black-and-white.
While he holds symbolic authority and military supremacy, Orwell is still powerless to stop the jibes and abuse he receives from oppressed Burmese. He has yet to understand that the British empire is waning, and will soon be replaced with even worse regimes. However, while Orwell considers the empire an unconscionable tyranny, he still hates the insolent Burmese who torment him.
This conflicted mindset is typical of officers in the British Raj, he explains. His morality staunchly opposes the abuses that result from empire and his own role in that empire, but he is unable to overcome his visceral urge to avenge the indignities he suffers at the hands of the Burmese. His knee-jerk resentment at being humiliated—coupled with an implied sense that those humiliating him should see him as powerful and their better—seems to be as powerful as his higher-order ethics.
One day, a minor incident takes places that gives Orwell insight into the true nature of imperialism and the reasons behind it. He receives a call from another policeman, informing him that a rogue elephant has been causing damage in the town.
Orwell heads toward the affected area. The Burmese have been unable to restrain the elephant. On its rampage, the elephant has destroyed public and private property and killed livestock.
Orwell is able to better understand imperialism through his run-in with the elephant because the elephant serves as a symbol of colonialism. For example, much like the Burmese who have been colonized and who abuse Orwell, the elephant has been provoked to destructive behavior by being oppressed.
He tries to figure out the state of affairs, but, as is common in his experience of Asia, he finds that the story makes less and less sense the more he learns about it. The mutilated corpse appears to have been in excruciating pain.
Orwell orders a subordinate to bring him a gun strong enough to shoot an elephant. Evidently, colonialism and the power dynamics it entails are too convoluted to be contained within a single straightforward point of view. Orwell walks to the field, and a large group from the neighborhood follows him.
The townspeople, who were previously uninterested in the destructive elephant, have seen the gun and are excited to see the beast shot. Orwell feels uncomfortable—he had not planned to shoot the elephant, and requested the rifle only for self-defense. Once again, the Burmese appear to wield power over Orwell, subverting the colonial hierarchy. The crowd reaches the rice paddies, and Orwell spots the elephant standing next to the road. The animal is calmly eating grass.
He makes up his mind to simply watch the elephant to make sure it does not become aggressive again, and does not plan on harming it. Just as he empathizes with the oppressed Burmese, Orwell recognizes that the elephant is a peaceful creature that has been driven to rebellion by its mistreatment. Because it is both a harmless animal and a valuable piece of property, it is clear that there is no ethical or practical reason to hurt the elephant.
Note that for the British all of Burma was essentially a valuable piece of property—another metaphorical link between the elephant and colonialism. However, after he makes this decision, Orwell glances back at the crowd behind him. Orwell feels as though he is a magician tasked with entertaining them, and realizes that he is now compelled to shoot the elephant.
Orwell reneges on his ethical and practical conclusions almost as quickly as he makes them. By being placed in front of a crowd, Orwell has been forced to take on a performative persona that makes him act counter to every reasonable impulse he has.
Orwell, the imperialist, cannot do anything other than what the Burmese expect him to do.
Shooting an Elephant analysis Giving in can either be good or bad. Whether large or miniscule, situations that are faced everyday require serious decisions. As humans, we sometimes have the inability to decide. In, “ Shooting An Elephant”, choices are made for the pleasure of others. The theme in this short autobiographical essay deeply affects [ ].
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Analysis of George Orwell's 'Shooting an Elephant' Essay example Words | 5 Pages. Technique Analysis of ‘Shooting an elephant’ Written by George Orwell Essay by Arthur Diennet In , George Orwell published his short story ‘Shooting an elephant’ in an English magazine. Sep 24, · For WTA Tour Tennis on the GameCube, a GameFAQs message board topic titled "George Orwell "Shooting An Elephant" rhetorical analysis essay".Operating System: GC, GBA, PS2, XBOX.
The essay Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell is an example of a persuasive rhetorical piece. Orwell’s publication Shooting an Elephant is an autobiographical account of Orwell’s experiences as a British police officer in Burma during a period of British imperialism. Essay on Shooting an Elephant Words | 2 Pages “Shooting an Elephant” I was not comfortable with many aspects of this story. The prejudice throughout the book was unimaginable, I find I am uncomfortable with any kind of bigotry.