George Orwell “Shooting an Elephant”

Topics: Burma, Colonialism, George Orwell Pages: 2 (397 words) Published: December 5, 2013

George Orwell “Shooting an Elephant”

In the essay “Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell argues that imperialism ruins and hurts not just a countries’ economic, cultural and social structure, but has other far reaching consequences; oppression undermines the psychological, emotional and behavioral development of mankind. Orwell served his country, the British Empire, in Burma during the early 20’s as a police officer. The country was colonized by the most powerful economical leader in Europe. The only person who can have an insight look and empathy into what it felt like to be oppressed is Orwell, who lived in Burma for five years. On a daily basis he agonized over three significant issues; entering into a working field where he had insufficient knowledge, felt hatred or bullied by Burmese, and he was disgusted as a human being by recognizing what life meant for a nation that was colonized. History had enough examples of empires violating not just human rights, but intervening forcefully into other countries, robbing their natural resources, and suppressing its people for the sake of their own prosperity. Throughout his essay, Orwell logically illustrates different elements of allegory such as an elephant that symbolizes the British Empire, which was enormous, powerful, and dauntlessly conquered anything that was in his way. The Burmese represent any oppressed nations on the globe that struggles to keep their culture and values alive; moreover, constantly resist against the conqueror even though that withstand was ineffective. The allegory of Indians who were colonized by Brits also symbolize a typical victim who attacks another lower ranked prey, as Albert Memmi in his thesis “Racism and Oppression” asserts that “If the French proletarian wants to feel a little taller, whom is he step on if not on the immigrant worker…”. (Memmi, pp. 183, p. 22). Orwell’s description shows a clear picture of his emotional struggles from hatred, to pressured, to stunned, to...
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