Symbolism In George Orwell's Shooting An Elephant

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In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, he encounters the pressure influenced by the Burmese and the way it affected his decision. Orwell uses symbols such as the police officer, the yellow faces, and the elephant to represent the evil of English imperialism. The Police officer symbolizes his weakness of authority, the executioner of the elephant, and guilt. Orwell explains “I was hated by large numbers of people.” (pg. 322) and “As a police officer, I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so.” (pg. 322) The Burmese showed him no respect, but it wasn’t to a point where crime was common. Even though Orwell was the ring leader of the Burmese crowd, he didn’t call the shots. Orwell says he “had no intention of shooting the elephant.” (pg.326) which he didn’t, but he assassinated the elephant due to the force of the coolie. Guilt is shown when Orwell says “In the end I couldn’t stand it any longer and went away.” (pg. 330) He didn’t want to watch the suffering of the elephant. Orwell’s use of the yellow faces symbolizes the pressure forced by the coolie, the anger they led on, and the cold-heartedness of the crowd. Orwell’s vivid description of the elephant’s rampage, “The people said that the elephant had come suddenly…show more content…
There was a reason the elephant was “chained up”, it was because “he might charge if you came too close.” (pg. 328) He understood that the elephant had no control and he felt sympathy. After fired a third time” (pg.329), Orwell say “it took him half an hour to die.” (pg.330) The elephant was incapable of defending itself from the power of the coolie. The rampage when “the elephant was merely ravaging their homes.” (pg.326) narrows down the capability of the destruction caused by the elephant. If it wasn’t for the destruction of the village, and the death of a coolie, the elephant could have prevented its
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