Imperialism In George Orwell’s “Shooting An Elepha

1950 Words8 Pages
Eric Arthur Blair, whose pen name was George Orwell, was a British author, novelist, essayist, and a critic. George Orwell is a British Christian name, and Orwell is the name of a small river in East Anglia. As a wanderer from time to time Orwell plunged the depths of society like an explorer. These experiences in poverty inspired him in many of his publications. On January 21, 1950 Orwell died from tuberculosis (Abcarian 1406). Among his many accomplished works is the non-fictional story, “Shooting an Elephant,” which boldly established his stand on imperialism. This story is of the time when Orwell went to Burma and served in the Indian Imperial Police as an assistant superintendent in 1922 since he lacked means to attend an university (Abcarian 1406). During the time of imperialistic rule, the great empires dominated many subordinate countries to exploit their resources. These European empires believed it was, “the white man’s burden” to civilize the people they called heathens and savages of these countries. However, as Imperialism was broken down, the question of whether or not European conquerors were ever in control remains. In “Shooting an Elephant”, George Orwell first reveals his opposition to imperialism. Then, through the parallels between the British Empire and a Burmese elephant and the action of shooting the elephant, Orwell points out the incomplete control of the British Empire over Burma which also represents the breakdown of imperialism. Although the author was working as a police officer for the British Emperor, he strongly opposed the idea of Imperialism. His opposition is expressed throughout the story. I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I checked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically- and secretly, of course- I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British.
Open Document