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Shooting Of An Elephant Essay

  • Submitted by: nelle3
  • on October 5, 2008
  • Category: English
  • Length: 770 words

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Below is an essay on "Shooting Of An Elephant" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

In “Shooting an Elephant," Orwell portrays his message through the use of multiple persuasive tools. He wants the reader to know when somebody assumes power. The various persuasive tools identified are, symbolism, metaphors and irony.
Through the use of symbols, Orwell portrays his message powerfully. The elephant symbolizes freedom and the victims of imperialism. Orwell contently repeats his decision not to kill the elephant. At the beginning he has "no intention of shooting the elephant. (Orwell 69)" When he sees the elephant he says, "I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. I decided that would watch him for a little while to make sure that he did not turn savage again, and then go home (Orwell 69)", shows hesitation. At the end he states, "Suddenly, I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. (Orwell 70)" The usage of ''after all'' gives a sense of him not having any choice in the matter. The fact that Orwell actually shoots the elephant gives the reader an uncomfortable feeling because the reader is led to think that the officer is not going to shoot the elephant.
The British officer, who is the author of the story, acts as a symbol of the imperial country. Orwell is presented in the story as a round and dynamic character with mixed feelings of sympathy and anger towards the Burmese. As shown when he said he was "all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors (Orwell 66)" and that "the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts (Orwell 67)".  
On the other hand the Burmese represent the "victims" of imperialism. "The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been bogged with bamboos. (Orwell 66)" The vivid visual imagery shows a clear view how the Burmese are treated. The British Empire controls them like animals. There is no reason for people to be treated...

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