Shooting an Elephant - Essay

Topics: Burma, British Empire, Colonialism Pages: 2 (865 words) Published: May 15, 2012
30/10/11 ‘Shooting an Elephant’ Rebecca Bonner 2. Choose an essay which puts across a strong personal belief in a clear and convincing manor. George Orwell’s ‘Shooting an Elephant,’ is an essay which takes place in imperial Burma where he is a police officer working on behalf of the British Empire. He is resented by the people who pressures him into shooting an elephant, where he describes himself as being a meaningless puppet in front of the Burmese crowd. Throughout this essay he also delivers his strong personal beliefs towards his hatred of imperialism, despite working for the colonies, he mentions several times of how much he despises it and sees it as ‘evil.’ We first capture his opposing view of it when he is discussing his job in Burma, he detests it and hates the way in which it oppresses the native people, ‘at that time, I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing.’ He voices his disapproval of it and it is very reactionary, the word ‘evil’ is used without qualification, this shows a perhaps lack of detailed knowledge of the political issues, or maybe he just feels so disgusted by it, he uses such a devilish word to describe his view. He then goes on to describe how he is against his own government and was on the Burmese’s side, despite his hatred for them, ‘Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British.’ Here he shows his true opinion of the Empire, though with the use of the hyphens, adding in how he kept it a secret, showing his lack of courage to publicly oppress the Empire. Even although he has very conflicting views towards the native population, there is also times we see him appearing deeply sympathetic towards the Burmese and their suffering, ‘all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt.’ The interesting use of the word ‘oppression’ suggests he is feeling the same way as the natives and in some way shares their pain. His sympathy...
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