Shooting An Elephant Imperialism

933 Words4 Pages
The story “Shooting an Elephant”, is mainly about how the author, George Orwell, hates the idea of imperialism. Orwell is a sub-division English police officer who works in Moulmein, Lower Burma. Due to that he is an English man, he is seen as an obvious target by the Burmese and is baited whenever it seemed safe to do so. However, being the ruler of Burma, he is disagreeing with the prisoner treatments and feels tired towards the English empire, in the story there has been a lot of symbolism presenting to indicate that. Author Orwell’s unique skill of using symbolisms of the coolie, the death of the elephant, and the chaining of the elephant has effectively demonstrated the evil of imperialism. The calamity of imperialism reflects on the…show more content…
Orwell says, “It was obvious that the elephant would never rise again, but he was not dead (Para. 10)”. The elephant represents the British Empire and after Orwell shoots the elephant three times, the elephant is slowly dying which is related to the British Empire is gradually going into a downfall. Even though the elephant is powerful, but one day it can be dead. Although the Great Britain has had the most colonies on earth, but one day it will be broken. Once, the English Empire is known as the empire that has a world power on which “the sun never sets”, which is related with the number of colonies that Britain has. The author uses the death of the elephant significantly conveys the decadence of an empire; even though it has been prosperity, but the imperialism can lead to a decadence of a country. Additionally, Orwell has written this story in 1936, a year later, in 1937, Burma becomes an independent colony and after the World War Two, in 1948, Burma finally becomes self-governing. This timeline has again demonstrated the decadency of the Great British. By adopting the death of the elephant, Orwell has commendably illustrated the evil of the imperialism which is resulting in the failure of the British…show more content…
In the story Orwell writes, “When the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib (Para. 6)”. It shows that the imperialist is actually not free; one must live up to the expectation of its colonies. The writer adopts the elephant to represent Orwell himself. Therefore, when it is chained up, the elephant or Orwell could not release the power in front of the Burmese. That can be seen in later on in the story where Orwell has this internal conflict about whether or not he should shoot the elephant. Due to Orwell is “chained up”, when standing in front of a crowd of Burmese, Orwell could not possibly release the power and do whatever wants. Thus, Orwell addresses, “here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front the unarmed native crowed--seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet… (Para. 10)”. Therefore, Orwell had to shoot the elephant against the will, not only because the elephant has gone wild and it is something must be done, but more importantly, because that is the expectation of the Burmese. Orwell decides to “wear a mask, and his face grows to fit it (Para. 6)”. When Orwell shoots the mad creature, that action is just like a chained up elephant wants to impress the owner. Author Orwell uses the chaining

More about Shooting An Elephant Imperialism

Open Document