The Nameless Narrator In George Orwell's Shooting An Elephant

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No matter how confident one may seem to be in his position or abilities, there always comes a point where he begins to waver and doubt his next move. As humans, it is inevitable that every question cannot be answered; not every response may be the most appropriate in a situation, however, it is not his faults nor follies that define him---unless he allows them to. In the case of the nameless narrator in George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant,” he is confined within British Burma’s imperialistic and tyrannical government. His position as a policeman creates a barrier within himself, as he discovers the conflict between his occupation, and his personal will. Throughout the essay, the narrator tells the story in a first person point of view as a revisionist. The diction of this essay is presented in past tense form, as the white policeman is reflecting back on the one time that he was “important.” Personally, the narrator despises the…show more content…
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. “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it” (4). The narrator finds himself dissolving into the role to which his is “supposed” to follow and he decides to shoot the
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