There are numerous themes in this short story such as British imperialism and colonial resentment however the most prominent theme in this story is fear of humiliation and the effect peer- pressure has on an individual. The setting of Burma helps work with this theme as it provides an area for the plot to take place and develop. After marching miles to the destination of the elephant, a crowd had surrounded George Orwell and encourages Orwell to kill the elephant. George Orwell is compelled to kill the once ravaging elephant due to the fact that Orwell wants to avoid looking like a fool. George Orwell is willing to sacrifice his role of doing the right thing and fulfilling the Burmese wishes in order to save himself from
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…”
Well known author and journalist, George Orwell, in his essay, Shooting an Elephant, describes his experiences as a Policeman in Moulmein, Burma during European Imperialism. Orwell’s purpose is to convey the ideal that what is right and what is accepted don’t always align. He adopts a remorseful tone in order to convey to the reader the weight of his actions. By looking at George Orwell’s use of imagery and figurative language, one can see his strongly conflicting opinions on Imperialism. Orwell begins his essay, Shooting an Elephant, by explaining the actions of the Burmese people and by expressing his contempt for imperialism.
Hannah Edmiston Boudreau AP Language Friday 25 September, 2015 Shooting an Elephant Analyzing Rhetorical Devices Shooting an Elephant, written by George Orwell in 1936, describes his experience working as a British officer located in Moulmein, Burma. He writes his essay to reveal the cruelty and disastrous outcome of imperialism he witnesses. Orwell uses strong resource of language such as symbolism, metaphors and imagery to express his disdain for British imperialism. Orwell uses symbolism to connect the character of the elephant to the effects of imperialism. In the beginning of the essay, the elephant manifests an unbending tantrum.
Elephent of a Nation “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell is a story about his time as a police officer working for the British Empire in Burma. Orwell discusses his clear disapproval of the European intrusion into the country of Burma. Orwell mentions that he struggled with the fact that he empathized with the Burmese against their oppressors, yet he found himself stuck between hating the Empire and the disdain he felt towards the people he was supposed to protect. Until finally, something happened that allowed him to get a certain level of perspective on British colonialism imperialism he did not have before; he received a call that an elephant has gone “must” and his help was required. After some time tracking down the animal and talking
Novelist, Political writer and Journalist, George Orwell, in his autobiographical essay “Shooting an Elephant,” relays his experience as a police officer in colonial Burma. Orwell’s purpose is to reveal the fact that imperialism harms both the oppressed and the oppressor. He acquires a negative and penitent tone in order to voice out his thoughts, primarily to his British readers, regarding imperialism and how it ironically enslaved the British because of the expectations of the oppressed natives. George Orwell applies the rhetorical strategy of imagery in his essay in order for readers to comprehend how he felt when he was coerced by the Burmese people to partake in an action that contravened with his morals. Orwell exaggerates his apprehension by adding the words, “Pursued, caught, trampled on,” and by referring to a previous occurrence in the story as he enumerates the possible catastrophic outcomes of killing the elephant in
The townspeople become excited when they finally see a police officer armed with a weapon that is ready to end the destruction of the “rampaging” elephant. However, the narrator has no intentions of killing the animal. Actually, he knows that he does not want to kill the elephant as he was it as a “serious matter to shoot a working elephant – it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery – and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided” (4). At this point in the story, his conflict transgresses to more than just right versus wrong. He now feels pressured to either please the “natives’ and take down this “beast”, fulfill his role as a white British policeman, or to do what he believes is the best thing to do.
In “Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell writes about his grueling experience as a police officer in the East, and his attempt to kill an elephant that horribly wrong. In the East, the inequalities of life are more prevalent, and Orwell observes these in his essay. In “The Death of the Moth” Virginia Woolf writes about her own experience of death, when she witnessed a moth perish in front of her. Woolf compares all of these equalities between a moth and other living things. Though Orwell writes about the inequalities of life, his own opinion is more akin to Woolf’s view that all life is equal.
Where he says, “But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behind”, was implying the fact that he wanted the town to recognize him. It, no doubt, made him feel like he should be the hero. He had two choices: kill the elephant or let it go, and what did he choose? He chose to kill it all to get praised by the people. He didn’t care how if felt.
He has a rifle and this makes the crowd extremely happy because they believed that he was going to shoot the elephant who had caused chaos and killed one coolie. Even though Orwell felt pressure from the crowd, he felt some sort of resentment towards the elephant when he saw how peaceful it looked in the fields. “It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him” (Orwell 299-300). Orwell wanted to show the crowd that he is not scared, even though he would have to kill the elephant who seems very harmless in the field. Orwell did not want to be taken as a joke, he wanted them to respect him.