Shooting An Elephant By George Orwell Essay

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Strength in Numbers During the height of the British Empire the extent of England’s rule stretched to the country of Myanmar, also known as Burma. George Orwell’s narrative essay Shooting an Elephant takes place during this period. In this essay, Orwell voices his distain for imperialism through the perspective of a British police officer stationed in Burma—a colonist. Imperialism, argues Orwell, creates a culture of hate, something that affected him, and in the case that a colony has to be terminated the hate and anguish become much worse. Orwell paints the image of the officer hating the thought of destroying the elephant yet anyway from the push of the surrounding Burmese. The masses, despite the prejudices created by imperialism, still…show more content…
The reader receives evidence of the influence the natives have on Orwell, first through the outlook he develops concerning imperialism and later through the action he takes against the elephant. He writes that he “did not in the least want to shoot the elephant.” (Orwell, 2014, p. 233). However, as the narrative continues, Orwell does end up shooting the elephant after feeling “(the natives’) two thousand wills pressing against (him).” (Orwell, 2014, p. 234). Orwell’s actions further demonstrate the power multitudes of people have on an individual. Separately, the Indian people pose no threat; however, together they become capable of dictating the actions of their superiors. In the end Orwell admits to feeling like “an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind.” (Orwell, 2014, p. 234). Orwell, as the British police officer, no longer acts according to his own inclinations. Through the ordeal involving the elephant Orwell comes to the realization of his lost liberty yet the reader observes that he lost it when he first began his job as a British imperial officer. The British Empire dictates most every action done by Orwell; he has become numb to it and replaced his initial resistance with a hate for all that surrounds him. Death of autonomy, another byproduct of imperialism, takes affect on
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