Shooting An Elephant Critical Analysis Essays

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In the essay, his largest fear is that of public humiliation or "looking like a fool" (Orwell 206).

Orwell's dilemma involves poor morals colliding with common sense.

Orwell did spend significant time in Burma, and the extent to which is based on actual events is unknown.

It has been extensively praised for its exploration of themes of imperialism and its corrosive effect on the colonizer, the relationship between conqueror and conquered, and the effect of a person’s conscience after they commit terrible acts for what they are told is the greater good.

The implication is that this no-win situation he finds himself in is the natural result of the British Empire’s attempt to administer foreign countries.

George Orwell is considered one of the most significant 20th century British writers, and is best known for his two most widely read novels: the dystopian political thriller in particular, including “Cold War”, “Big Brother”, “thought police” and “doublethink.” In all, Orwell wrote a total of six novels, several inspired by the events of his life, as well as a trio of non-fiction books based on his early life in London, his time among the working class in England, and his adventures in the anti-fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War.Although the narrator sympathizes with the Burmese, his official role makes him a symbol of the British occupation, and he is frequently harassed and jeered by the locals.One day, he receives a call that a normally tame elephant is rampaging through a village.He later finds out that as soon as the elephant died, the locals stripped it to the bone and took the meat for their own purposes.At his office, all his older colleagues agree that he made the right decision to shoot the elephant, but his younger colleagues make the argument that the elephant’s life was worth more than the man it trampled.Orwell held the post of Assistant Superintendent in the British Indian Imperial Police from 1922 to 1927, when the story takes place.This is when the narrator’s story takes place as well, during a period of intense anti-European sentiment in Burma.Taking place during the British occupation of Burma, it focuses on an unnamed narrator, considered by many to be a stand-in for Orwell himself, as he is tasked to shoot an aggressive elephant while serving as a police officer in the country.The essay is considered by many to be a metaphor for British imperialism, a subject Orwell wrote of critically in many of his nonfiction works.has been reprinted extensively in collections of Orwell’s shorter works, and was adapted into a 2015 short film.Burma was held as a British colony between 1886 at the conclusion of the third Anglo-Burmese War, and its independence in 1948.


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