Rhetorical Analysis of Shooting an Elephant

Topics: British Empire, Colonialism, Imperialism Pages: 2 (796 words) Published: October 24, 2008
Rhetorical Analysis of “Shooting an Elephant”

Orwell succeeds greatly in telling one of his remarkable experiences in Burma. While working for the British Empire as a police officer in Burma, he comes across a elephant gone mad that in his judgment he shouldn’t shoot because the handler was on his way and there was no need to kill the expensive piece of property anymore. But in the end he felt that he needed to do a service for the mob of people that had congregated. Orwell wrote this essay 10 or so years after the events that took place in the essay. The British Empire at the time of writing was going through major changes and its imperial power was declining. So he was telling his incredible story as a way of informing the British citizens at the time of exposing the injustices and dark side of imperialism that he felt he had to right. The whole world when he was writing this essay was enduring a economic depression and were facing another possible world war. So it was a dark time not only for the British empire but the whole world.

Orwell audience obviously would be very word choice by his unique dilemma. Writing for it for the average Englishman, Orwell hopes to change their ignorant attitudes of the smaller, poorer colonies. The audience would likely also have more confidence and faith in Orwell because of his brutally honest admissions. He assumed that Moulmein, Burma and the other problems with imperialism was mostly unheard of to the average patriotic Englishman. In his essay he represents himself as a man who is not only young and naïve but also torn between the Empire he serves and the people that it oppresses. He gains additional credibility by revealing feelings and views that most writers would probably never even consider putting to paper.

The medium he used was print which was the most effective way of getting your word across the whole word at the time. It was written as a narrative essay. The main idea proposed...
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