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Shooting an Elephant Essay | Essay

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❶The essay finishes with him wondering if they will even understand his motive for having killed the elephant as he merely wished to salvage his pride. He later learns that it was stripped, nearly to the bone, within hours.

Summary of "Shooting an Elephant"

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Although it is not the narrator's wish to shoot the elephant, and even though he holds a weapon far beyond the technological capabilities of the natives, his will is not his own and, due to their expectation, he realises that he must shoot the elephant; "I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind.

The narrator's situation throughout the essay is one of little prospect or prominence. He comments on how, even though he is of the ruling class, he finds himself either largely ignored by the Burmese people or hated. He remarks in the first sentence, "I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. In contrast to his description of the natives as "little beasts", the narrator labels the elephant as a "great beast", suggesting he holds it in higher esteem than the locals.

This is somewhat paradoxical, however, as the narrator's own job is demeaning and forces him to see "the dirty work of the Empire at close quarters". The narrator singles out "Buddhist priests"—persons synonymous with peace and goodwill—to be "the worst of all" and comments on how he would gladly "drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts". Having killed the elephant, the narrator considers how he was glad it killed the " coolie " as that gave him full legal backing.

The essay finishes with him wondering if they will even understand his motive for having killed the elephant as he merely wished to salvage his pride. The narrator's conscience plagues him greatly as he finds himself trapped between the "hatred of the empire [he] served" and his "rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make [his] job impossible.

The degree to which the story is fiction has been disputed. In his biography of Orwell, George Orwell: A Life , Bernard Crick cast doubt on the idea that Orwell himself actually shot an elephant. No independent account of Orwell's actions has been found and there was no official record of the incident, which was unusual considering the destruction of valuable property. Peter Davison , the editor of Orwell's Complete Works , includes an interview with George Stuart, a contemporary of Orwell in Burma, who said that Orwell was transferred to Kathar as punishment for shooting an elephant.

It was not long after the incident that he was transferred from Moulmein to a quiet post in Upper Burma called Katha. Kenny shooting an elephant in similar circumstances. When one biographer questioned Orwell's wife, Sonia Brownell , she replied, "Of course he shot a fucking a [sic] elephant.

He said he did. Why do you always doubt his word! From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Princeton University Press, , pp. Archived from the original on May 19, Shooting an Elephant analysis".

Archived from the original on Retrieved February 21, Retrieved from " https: Essays by George Orwell essays Works originally published in British magazines Works originally published in literary magazines.

Pages using deprecated image syntax. Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 12 July , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Cover of first anthology publication. Unknown whether fiction or non-fiction [1].

But the crowd behind just would not agree. They were gleeful and anxious to see the elephant having committed felonies get shot. If the gunshot was not fired, it would be jeering and sneering, which would definitely produced more execution than the trample of the prodigious foot of the elephant, pouring all over him.

That would make his job even more impossible, also. With the consensus pressing on his nerves, he fired where he thought the darting bullet could kick its bucket. It took about half an hour for the hulk to die, leaving mundane dirt draping down like a shroud for it. A life of an elephant for not losing face, still being able to stagger, falter, hobble, limp, totter, dodder, or say, scrape his way out.

Anyway, fair to George if no guilty conscience haunted him. This section contains words approx. Browse all BookRags Study Guides. Get Summary of "Shooting an Elephant" from Amazon. View the Study Pack.


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I had no intention of shooting the elephant--I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary--and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following you.

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George Orwell, best known for his novels, was also an accomplished essayist. Among his most powerful essays is the autobiographical essay "Shooting an Elephant," which Orwell based on his experience as a police officer in colonial Burma.

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In the essay “Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell argues that imperialism ruins and hurts not just a countries’ economic, cultural and social structure, but has other far reaching consequences; oppression undermines the psychological, emotional and behavioral development of mankind. Orwell served his country, the British Empire, in Burma during the early 20’s as a police [ ]. "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell is a narrative essay about Orwell's time as a police officer for the British Raj in colonial Burma. The essay delves into an inner conflict that Orwell experiences in his role of representing the British Empire and upholding the law.

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- George Orwells Shooting an Elephant In George Orwell's essay "Shooting An Elephant," he writes about racial prejudice. Orwell is a British officer in Burma. The author is, "for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British"(). Orwell feels caught in the middle of this cultural struggle. Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell In his essay Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell explains how the controlling authorities in a hostile country are not controlling the country's population but are in fact a mere tool of the populous.