George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” is a searing and powerful indictment of British imperialism. The essay, which was first published in 1936, describes Orwell’s experience as a colonial police officer in Burma and his eventual realization that the imperial system was unjust and immoral.
Orwell begins by telling the story of how he was called upon to shoot an elephant that had gone rogue and killed a man. Even though he did not want to kill the animal, he felt that he had no choice because it was his duty as a colonial policeman. As he stood there with gun in hand, ready to kill the creature, Orwell realized that he hated the British empire and everything it stood for.
This experience led Orwell to reflect on the nature of imperialism and its effects on both the colonized and the colonizers. He came to the conclusion that imperialism is a system that benefits the few at the expense of the many, and that it is ultimately doomed to fail.
Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” is an important political essay that offers a vivid glimpse into the realities of colonialism. It is also a personal story about one man’s complex relationship with an empire that he both served and despised.
He feels that “It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant,” because it would deprive the owners of their main source of income and would be unethical. However, he then looks at the coolie’s body and decides that he must make some kind of compromise with the animal.
Orwell then proceeds to shoot the elephant three more times, by which point it has fallen to the ground and is clearly dying. In his essay, Orwell reflects on how this event encapsulates his experience as a colonial administrator in British-occupied Burma.
Orwell begins by discussing his personal feelings on imperialism and confessing that he sometimes does enjoy the power that comes with being a colonial administrator. He talks about how the British imperialists see themselves as “civilizing” the native population, but in reality they are often just exploiting them. However, he also acknowledges that there are some benefits to imperialism, such as the advancement of infrastructure and education.
Orwell then goes on to describe the incident that served as the basis for his essay. He was called to deal with an elephant that had gone on a rampage, and when he arrived he found that the animal had already killed a man. He initially hesitated to shoot the elephant, as he knew that it would be expensive for the owner and would cause unnecessary suffering. However, he eventually decided to kill the animal because he felt that it was his duty as a colonial administrator.
However, he claims that “he does not want to shoot him” and confesses after firing the elephant that he was relieved because it cleared him legally and justified his acts. He then admits that he had no choice but to fire it since “the people expected [him] to do it,” and “[h]e’d gotten himself into a hole.”
The narrator confesses that he, and every white male in the East, spent his life attempting to impress or at least avoid being laughed at by the Burmese. He acknowledges that this is why he decided to shoot the elephant, not out of a desire to preserve the innocent or maintain order, as others have suggested.
Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” is a reflection on imperialism and the British Empire’s presence in Burma. The story is narrated by an Englishman who is working as a colonial police officer in Moulmein, a town in British-occupied Burma. The unnamed narrator is confronted with a difficult situation when he is called to deal with an elephant that has gone rogue and killed a local man. He does not want to kill the animal, but feels pressure from the Burmese people to do so. Ultimately, he decides to shoot the elephant, but is left feeling frustrated and regretful about his decision.
Shooting an Elephant was written by George Orwell while he was stationed in Burma; thus the tale takes place there, in Burma, Myanmar. The tale is set during a critical time in British history when high rises were being built. In order to express his feelings indirectly, Orwell turned to symbols. An elephant is one of the most popular symbols.
Elephant as a symbol of British imperialism. The essay mainly focuses on the inner conflict of the narrator, a young British Imperial police officer who is forced to shoot an elephant against his own will.
The story is set in Burma, Myanmar, during the British colonial period. At that time, Burma was a province of British India. The British had been ruling Burma for nearly sixty years, and the Burmese people were increasingly resentful of their rule.
Orwell himself was a young British imperial police officer in Burma at the time. He was not particularly happy with his job, but he did not openly express his discontent. He was required to uphold the law and maintain order, even though he sympathized with the Burmese people.
One day, a huge elephant went on a rampage in a village, destroying property and killing a man. The villagers begged Orwell to shoot the elephant, but he was hesitant to do so. He did not want to kill the animal, but he felt that he had no choice.
Orwell eventually shot the elephant, but he felt great remorse afterwards. He realized that he had killed the animal for no good reason, and that the whole incident was a symbol of British imperialism.
Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” is not just a story about shooting an elephant. It is also a reflection on imperialism and its effects on both the oppressors and the oppressed.
“I do not know what the elephant symbolizes. The empire is comparable to an elephant, as Orwell explains in his narrative sentence about the elephant’s death. Orwell uses narrational sentences to describe the elephant when it dies. These phrases illustrate that the elephant represents the British Empire. One might have guessed him to be thousands of years old. (5)”
It was not, of course, a wild elephant, but a tame one which had gone “must.” It had been chained up, as tame elephants always are when their attack of must is due, but on the morning of the day it went must it had broken its chain and escaped. (1)”The mahout, the Burmese driver, was shouting to make them clear out of the way: he saw that I intended to shoot the elephant whether anyone liked it or not. The crowd grew very agitated.(3)”I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool. (4) “And immediately afterwards I heard two shots. They were firing at the elephant’s heart, just behind the left shoulder. (7)”
It was not dying, it was already dead. I had come too late. The wretched beast had made its last gasp and lay trundling on its side among the trampled grass with its muddy trunk near me, looking more like a huge land-crab than anything else.(8)” From these sentences, we can find out that Orwell uses the animal to symbolize British Empire. When it dies, it means the empire is finished; when people are shooting at it, it means people don’t like the empire anymore.