The True Nature Of Imperialism In George Orwell's Shooting An Elephant

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For centuries, Imperialism has affected many societies around the world. In the sixteenth century, the British Empire colonized places such as Burma, India. In George Orwell’s essay, “Shooting an Elephant”, he gives a first person account of imperialism. His retrospective story entails a moral dilemma he faced as a British police officer in Burma. Orwell uses the themes of imperial representation resentment to demonstrate the true nature of imperial colonialism and its effects on both the victims and prosecutors.
The theme of imperial representation shows how those who follow the British Empire are used as puppets; enacting the same evil they might secretly condemn onto the Burmans. In Orwell’s account, he represents all British imperialists and their relationship with the people of Burma. But just as Orwell represents the British, the elephant is a metaphor for Burmese. The elephant is powerless and ultimately conquered, just as they are. The Burmans slight acts of rebellion by spitting and laughing at the British is represented by the elephant going “must”. Orwell 's self-imposed task of upholding the British Empire’s mask of control can be related to the Empire’s goal of controlling or “taming” Burmese society. Orwell is aware that his reputation reflects that of all the other Europeans. This awareness plays a role in his deciding to shoot the elephant because if he didn’t, the Burman’s would question British authority and think of them as weak (Orwell).
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