Imperialization And Symbolism In Shooting An Elephant By George Orwell

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It is said that elephants can sense danger, though it is apparent that the elephant from Orwell’s short story is a brilliant exception. “Shooting an Elephant,” follows the struggles of an English police officer in a British controlled section of Lower Burma. In the story, the officer leaves to deal with a tame elephant that had escaped its owner and was left to rampage the town. The officer observes the damages on his way to the elephant and slowly collects a crowd of Burmese citizens. Once the officer is finally led to the elephant, he notices how calm and regal the creature is but realizes that he must kill the elephant to appease the crowd that had come to watch. At this point, the story slows as the narrator is forced to battle with himself over the life of the elephant. He eventually comes to the decision to shoot the elephant. In the end, the narrator reflects on the consequences of shooting the elephant and decides that what he did was right, even if he only did it to preserve his pride (Orwell). Orwell’s short story covers the narrator’s mental battles well and uses characterization and symbolism to convey the effects of imperialism on individuals and how the pressure of a group’s wants can lead someone to a decision that is immoral. To begin “Shooting an Elephant,” Orwell covers the narrator’s thoughts on imperialism and how the British control had affected his life. By reading the passage, the reader learns that the Orwell believed imperialism was “evil”
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