George Orwell

Topics: British Empire, George Orwell, Colonialism Pages: 2 (610 words) Published: October 31, 2013

Orwell displays his hatred of imperialism by using the shooting of the elephant as an extended metaphor for imperialism. George Orwell in his essay “Shooting an Elephant” develops his political agenda through the use of the rhetorical devices irony and symbolism. The ironic element of the essay is revealed through when he says “Theoretically- and secretly, of course- I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British.” The symbolism is applied through the killing of the elephant. The last breaths of the elephant can be interpreted as the decline of the British Empire. This essay can be taken as a whole to precede the end of the British Empire which ended during World War II. Catch- 22, a novel we read earlier in class this quarter also took place during this time period and Joseph Heller uses the story to show his political agenda by not confronting it straightforwardly like George Orwell. Both authors are able to incorporate some of same rhetorical devices to display their own political agendas. The devices Orwell employs to push his political agenda are irony and symbolism. Orwell portrays the elephant symbolically as imperialism. In addition to the last breaths of the elephant being a metaphor to the dying embers of the British Empire Orwell makes a comparison. The comparison he is trying to make between imperialism and the elephant is not that the country taking over does not hesitate or feel remorse about colonizing but about how the people rushed forward towards the elephant after Orwell shoots it to strip it to the bones. This comparison shows how the British Empire was built; the country rushing forward to strip a country bare of all of its resources and colonize the country under British rule in the name of the Queen. The use of these two rhetorical strategies reveals his socialist political agenda. His socialist views are shown in another one of his books Animal Farm in which also he uses the whole plot as an extended...
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