Literary Essay Sample on Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

Published: 2019-11-11
Literary Essay Sample on Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature George Orwell
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 545 words
5 min read

George Orwells Shooting an Elephant focuses on explaining the drive and motive behind acts of imperialism, both for the oppressor and the oppressed. Orwell uses his experience as a police officer in Moulmein, the lower parts of Burma to analogize what drives the acts undertaken by imperialists. Such a period as outlined in the narrative is characterized by dirty work, imprisonment for offenders and convicts; and oppression that even leaves the imperialists with a great deal of a guilty feeling. Imperialism is a form of rule whereby a relatively and exclusively strong nation exercises power over a weaker country regarding dominating the weak countrys social, political, cultural and economic affairs and lifestyle. Based on Orwells narration, it is the natives rather than the imperialist that motivate their oppression in imperialism.

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To further assert the claims in the above paragraph, Orwell cites various incidences in which the persona felt it necessary to be engaged in imperialist duties despite the desire to quickly wind up and quit his job as a police officer. The first incidence describes the relationship between the Police officer and the residents, which he refers to as Burmese. This is a rather broken and irrevocable relationship that can only be helped by the persona quitting his job. The Burmese footballer and referee intimidate the persona on the pitch, only for the Burmese crowd to laugh hysterically at his predicaments. The resulting insults, he says, do not get well on his nerves.

On the streets as well, worse misfortune awaits as the tender-aged Buddhist priest parade off their regular duty to jeer at the imperialists, who happen to be Europeans. This, the persona says, creates a feeling of upset and hatred. Despite the personas hidden pity for the Burmese and hatred for their British oppressors, they still cannot allow him to coexist with them peacefully, and they continue intimidating and provoking him as equal as their oppressors.

He concludes with what seems to be his analogy of the how the native masses drive imperialist atrocities through their provocative actions. The incidence at hand involves the outraged tame elephant that charges and kills an Indian young man after escaping the radar of its mahout. As he probes and goes after the elephant, the local crowd increasingly throngs closely behind eager to rejoice at the predicament of this unfortunate and oblivious elephant. Despite not willing to shoot the elephant using his rifle, he is forced to by the pressure emanating from what the natives expect of him, that is, to kill. He finally fires several shots and floors the elephant to stamp the status of his authority among the natives, without considering better alternatives.

It is apparent and clear that some dangerous actions of imperialists can be driven by the pressure put upon them by the natives in the areas in which they colonize. This pressure can emanate from extremely negative feedback like insults or the need of the imperialist to stamp the exercise of authority over the locals.

Cited Works

Dag, O. "George Orwell: Shooting An Elephant". N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.

"What Are Examples Of Classification Paragraphs?". YourDictionary. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.

"Assertion - Examples And Definition Of Assertion". Literary Devices. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.

"Imperialism | Political Science". Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., 2016. Web. 30 Sept. 2016.

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