Shooting An Elephant Essay

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The essay “Shooting an Elephant” is a self-portraying, non-fiction entry written by George Orwell, in which he is forced to shoot an elephant. In the essay he talks about struggle amongst his own belief and society’s needs, which he ought to fulfil being an imperial police officer. Also, this essay is a symbol of oppression that can be seen through Burmese people towards Orwell.
In the essay he uses a sad tone and throws light on the fact that the position of power is not at all glitter and sparkle, he uses strong words such as “hated by people” (ORWELL 472) to portray his position prior to this shooting an elephant incident. Many figures of speech such as anaphora, metaphor, simile and alliteration have been used beautifully in the essay,
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Through this incident, there is a clear examination of the empire with the eyes of a single officer and how an individual tends to behave when he fights with his own motivation to perform an action. Orwell himself never intended to kill the elephant because he believed that it was not worthy to kill a tame animal, he said in text “it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery”. Towards the end of the story he finally kills the elephant not because he did not want to come out as a coward or he wanted to, but in order to fit in the personality of a police officer. He uses elephant as a metaphor in the text to show the hatred of Burmese people, and shows how Imperialism is weakling the empire. Another metaphor used in the text was, the use of word “elephant” till the time Orwell saw the elephant lying nearly dead, however in the very end author calls it a great beast in the sentence “it seemed dreadful to see the great beast lying there powerless to move, powerless to die” (ORWELL 477) just to symbolize the negative opinion of the crowd towards the animal. Also, he uses the word great and powerless just to draw a line of similarity between his situation and the elephant’s situation. Many people would use the word “it” for an animal however Orwell calls the animal “him” which states
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