Shooting an Elephant Essay

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Laura Payne English 1001 Textual Analysis Juliette Highland 10-5-11 Shooting An Elephant The story “Shooting an Elephant” is about the imperialistic evilness, and the strong anti-European feelings brought on by the Burmese people. The century of this stories setting is the mid-1800s after British gained control over Burma and integrated it into India after winning three battles. Imperialism has taken over after this new rule over the Burmese meaning there is unequal cultural views over a foreign country. The natives of Burma resented these Englishmen because they always got the better jobs, and were treated much better than the Burmese people. These natives looked down on the British officer, George Orwell, ridiculing him for his position in the British Empire . The story takes place in a small town within Burmese a British police officer gets word of an elephant in must who is running through the town tearing up everything in sight. He is instructed to fix this problem. Orwell calls for a rifle and immediately sets forth to deal with the “beast”. Upon arriving he realizes that many of the Burmese natives are following him cheering him on to kill the beast after the animal killed one of their own. He feels a great deal of pressure to do so, but does not want to kill the animal because he has now switched to a calmer mood, not harming anyone or anything. In the end, Orwell goes against what he believes and shoots the animal to avoid looking like a fool feeling a great deal of guilt. This scenario is a representation of the imperialism that has taken place in Burma. Orwell views imperialism as an evil thing that has taken over the British Empire. The elephant represents Burma and its struggle it goes through to stay alive, Orwell is represented as the British Empire because he is in control of the situation, and the three shoots put into the elephant

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