Subliminal Imperialism George Orwell immediately opens Shooting An Elephant by first laying down his perspective on British Imperialism. He states that it is corrupt and that he is against the British oppressors. Although a British officer himself at the time in Burma, he feels a obligated hatred and guilt towards not only himself, but his empire, and the “evil-spirited little beasts,” that inhabit it. Because of this, Orwell burdens only hostile feelings toward the British, Imperialism, and Britain's supposed justification for their actions in taking over Burma.In the essay he writes not only of his personal experience and the elephant, but also how metaphorical the experience is to Imperialism. The mood of the piece is set when Orwell renders the setting as a “cloudy, stuffy morning at the beginnings of the rains.” His tone of speech in turn is thought to be weak and discomforting.
When you read the essay it is clear that it describes the experience of an English police officer that is very unpopular in the city of Burma. He hates his job very much because of all the locals. He is a white man living in a city where the Britain’s conquered in the earlier years. This English narrator could maybe be George Norwell himself. But one day he is called out by another police officer in the town, because there is an aggressive elephant loose in the city.
George was a British sub-divisional police officer in the town of Lower Burma, Moulmein. George was against imperialism; he believed it was an evil thing and the sooner he got rid of his job the better. One day he was asked by the sub-inspector to take care of a crazed elephant at the other end of town. It’s unfortunate that when he got there he decided, by pressure of a group, to shoot the elephant instead of letting it live. I have been in situations such as this and, over time, I have taught myself how to not give into the complications of life.
A crisis arose in which he was faced with a hard decision to make. An elephant had gone on a rampage in the village and had destroyed countless huts and even killed a man. When Orwell came upon the elephant, it was clear to him that it had calmed down and that the elephant would cause no more harm to anyone. Orwell was faced with a decision to either shoot the beast or wait until his master returned to get him. However, this decision was made much more complicated.
The animal does not die immediately and, not being able to bear to see the animal suffer, the policeman leaves. In this essay, the Burmese people feel hostility towards the occupying British. The policemen endured sneers and insults by the young Burmese men, especially the Buddhist priests. The entire mood of the essay becomes established when Orwell describes the setting as a “cloudy, stuffy morning at the beginnings of the rains.” This in turn sets the discomforting tone of the essay. The narrator, a British officer, feels hatred towards the British Empire and also sympathy
He hated it. In the telling of a day where he had to shoot an elephant, or face ridicule, Orwell conquered his own fears and shot Imperialism down. The British officer, the executioner, acts as a symbol of the imperial country, while the elephant symbolizes the victim of imperialism. Together, the solider and the elephant turn this tragic anecdote into an attack on the institution of imperialism. The town of Moulmein where he was stationed was not a welcoming place for
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.
He also arranges for Merrick to have a permanent home on the premises of a London Hospital. The film, The Elephant Man, portrays Treves as rescuing Merrick from an afflicted existence in the disheveled wharf district. This is where he was beaten savagely and otherwise abused by his sideshow manager by the name of Bytes. The Elephant Man had many humorous parts and much more emotional bits. The thought of people having so much cruelty inside of them to treat this poor man with so much hatred and deceit, sickens me.
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.
The free access to weapons makes the life of the hunters easy. “In the 1970s, the global demand for ivory threatened to make the elephant extinct. Poachers, with access to automatic weapons derived from civil wars and international arms sales, were killing herds of elephants faster than ever before. From 1970 to 1985, the total elephant population of Africa decreased by half.” Also in 2002 the largest shipment of illegal ivory was seized by authorities in Singapore, it consisted of 532 elephant tusks and more than 40,000 cut pieces of ivory. Also, the demise of elephants can be attributed mostly to loss of its habitat.