Figurative Language In Shooting An Elephant

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George Orwell’s essay, Shooting an Elephant, describes his experience killing an out of control elephant while working as a police officer in the British colony of Burma. It highlights the cruelness of imperialism by showing the effects of Britain's control of Burma. In his essay, Orwell utilizes figurative language in order to explain his opposition and hatred towards the system of imperialism. To begin with, Orwell objects the idea of imperialism through the use of imagery. While working for the British in Burma, Orwell witnesses some atrocious events: “The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lockups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who has been flogged with bamboos…”…show more content…
The elephant represents the British Empire, eventually, the elephant goes “must’” and this represents British’s system of imperialism. Orwell does this because the elephant and the British Empire have similar effects on the Burmese. For example, Orwell states, “I rounded the hut and saw a man’s dead body sprawling in the mud...The people said that the elephant had come suddenly upon him...” (286). This depicts the strength of the British and the maltreatment of the Burmese by the British due to its system of imperialism. Also, the Burmese share similar feelings towards the elephant like they do with the British Empire, they want them both gone: “I looked at the sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes --- faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot.” (288). This shows that the Burmese are delighted to see British imperialism fall because they are tired of all the chaos it has caused. Essentially, Orwell, through the use of symbolism, is persuading his readers that imperialism is a wicked system and that it why he detests it. To conclude, Orwell includes figurative language in his essay, Shooting an Elephant, in order to explain to the readers why he disapproves and loathes the idea of
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