Condemning British Dominion: Shedding Light on the Truths of Imperialism

Topics: Burma, Imperialism, British Empire Pages: 3 (888 words) Published: May 31, 2012
Imperialism is established by more economically powerful nations interfering with the affairs of a weaker country. While many white men may often think of Imperialism as a form of civilizing the savages of a foreign land, George Orwell condemns it and thinks of it as only a façade of power. In ”Shooting an Elephant”, he conveys the ironic, powerless and evil nature of Imperialism through the experience of himself as a young British officer shooting the elephant against his own will in order to maintain the image of the imperial power in Burma. This is shown specifically through the relationship between the British and Burmese, the portrayal of the elephant as well as development of the inner conflicts of the protagonist. The major role in contributing in author’s illustration of the ironic nature of Imperialism is shown through the relationship between the British and Burmese. In the beginning, the author gives the information that the natives hate the imperial power. They would use subtle little tricks to convey their loathing towards the officers such as tripping over the British players in football games and jeering at Europeans from afar (948). As a result, the prideful British officers, although not a supporter of Imperialism, also come to abhor the natives. This is shown in the quote “…I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts” (949). This mutual hatred and the dirty actions is the primary result of the power relationships between the conqueror, the British, and the conquered Burmese; and this would not have existed without the implementation of Imperialism in Burma. The natives also play a role in manipulating the officer as the he never once observes the violence of the elephant in person but rather always led running around by the words of the natives. Also later on during the shooting of the elephant, the natives serve as the major source of manipulation of the officer’s mind. With two...
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