“A Review And Metaphorical Analysis Of ‘Shooting a

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“A Review and Metaphorical Analysis of ‘Shooting an Elephant’” To shoot or not to shoot? That is the question. “Shooting an Elephant,” an essay by George Orwell, saw its first publication in 1936 in the literary magazine New Writing. One of the most popular of Orwell’s shorter works, many have viewed the essay as a criticism of British Imperialism. Although some doubt remains as to whether Orwell was the main character in the story, he worked in Burma for five years as a member of the British Imperial Police. In “Shooting an Elephant,” the author reminds the reader that power oftentimes comes at cost of the ruler’s own freedom. The story tells of a British policeman working in Burma in the early 20th century. After receiving a call about an escaped elephant on a rampage, the policeman rides out on a pony, armed with a small rifle. He knows that his rifle will not kill the elephant, but after learning of the damage the elephant has done, he decides to borrow an elephant rifle. As he proceeds to look for the destructive animal, he spots it in a field peacefully eating grass and harming no one. He does not want to shoot the elephant, but when he sees the large crowd that followed him, he feels obligated to appease them. Against his moral belief, he decides to shoot the elephant. 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

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