George orwells shooting an elephant

With a strong interest in the lives of the working class, Orwell—born in India to a middle-class family, but brought up in Britain—held the post of assistant superintendent in the British Indian Imperial Police in Burma from to And if that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh.

I then wanted to evaluate the passage a second time, focusing on the specific words that Orwell uses and discuss how these words provide further evidence of the breakdown of imperial rhetoric.

His entire mission as a colonialist, he says, is not to be laughed at—thus, sparing the elephant is not an option. I fired a third time. The locals tell Orwell that the elephant has kept to itself, but may charge if provoked.

At last, after what seemed a long time — it might have been five seconds, I dare say — he sagged flabbily to his knees. Those harmed by the violence are either silenced—like the elephant—or lack recourse—like its owner.

He makes up his mind to simply watch the elephant to make sure it does not become aggressive again, and does not plan on harming it. Moreover, killing an elephant is a waste of an expensive commodity.

The orderly came back in a few minutes with a rifle and five cartridges, and meanwhile some Burmans had arrived and told us that the elephant was in the paddy fields below, only a few hundred yards away.

He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. 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 flogged with bamboos — all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt.

I had no intention of shooting the elephant — I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary — and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following you.

Orwell waits for it to die, but it continues to breathe.

George Orwell

But I could get nothing into perspective. Most of the corpses I have seen looked devilish. It was perfectly clear to me what I ought to do. He is later told that the elephant took a half hour to die.

Orwell expresses his conflicting positions sing imperialism through three illustrations of subjugation by his state, by the Burmese, and by himself on the Burmese. I was young and ill-educated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East.

For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives," and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things.

The Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it. At the age of 13 he won a scholarship to Wellington, and shortly after another to Eaton, the celebrated public school. As a representative of a hated government, he knows he must at all costs not look weak.

What would you make. To finish, I also want to briefly reference the conclusion of the story. The crowd would laugh at me. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. If the elephant charged and I missed him, I should have about as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller.

The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill.

George Orwell “Shooting An Elephant”: Metaphors and Analysis

It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant — it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery — and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided. Summary Analysis George Orwell works as the sub-divisional police officer of Moulmein, a town in the British colony of Burma.

Shooting an Elephant

I had already sent back the pony, not wanting it to go mad with fright and throw me if it smelt the elephant. It was an immense crowd, two thousand at the least and growing every minute.

Orwell walks to the field, and a large group from the neighborhood follows him. The Essential Orwell Boxed Set: Animal Farm, Down and Out in Paris and London, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays (Penguin Modern Classics) by Orwell, George ().

George Orwell’s Shooting An Elephant is a great essay combining personal experience and political opinion. The transitions he makes between narration and the actual story is so subtle the flow of the essay is easy to read.

George Orwell's Essay on his Life in Burma: "Shooting An Elephant" Eric A. Blair, better known by his pen name, George Orwell, is today best known for his last two novels, the anti-totalitarian works Animal Farm and He was also an accomplished and experienced essayist, writing on topics as diverse as anti-Semitism in England, Rudyard Kipling, Salvador Dali, and nationalism.

"Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell is an essay first published in in a literary magazine called New Writing. Orwell, an English author, had been employed in Indian Imperial Police, part. Afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant.

The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it.

'Shooting an Elephant' is Orwell's searing and painfully honest account of his experience as a police officer in imperial Burma; killing an escaped elephant in front of a crowd 'solely to avoid looking a fool'/5(17).

George orwells shooting an elephant
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Shooting an Elephant Summary -