Orwell shooting elephant essay

I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As ruler, he notes that it is his duty to appear resolute, with his word being final. I perceived in this moment that 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.


  • George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant Essay.
  • scott essays on chivalry.
  • Shooting an Elephant | The Orwell Prize.
  • civil engineering case studies;

For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives," and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle.

Shooting an Elephant | Introduction & Overview

A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things. To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away, having done nothing — no, that was impossible. The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.

Shooting an Elephant Summary & Study Guide Description

Although it is not the narrator's wish to shoot the elephant, his will is not his own and, due to their expectation, he realises that he must shoot the elephant; "I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. The narrator's situation throughout the essay is one of little prospect or prominence. He comments on how, even though he is of the ruling class, he finds himself either largely ignored by the Burmese people or hated. He remarks in the first sentence, "I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.

In contrast to his description of the natives as "little beasts", the narrator labels the elephant as a "great beast", suggesting he holds it at a higher status than the locals. This is somewhat paradoxical, however, as the narrator's own job is demeaning and forces him to see "the dirty work of the Empire at close quarters". The narrator singles out "young Buddhist priests" to be "the worst of all" and comments on how he would gladly "drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts".

Shooting an Elephant Essay

Having killed the elephant, the narrator considers how he was glad it killed the " coolie " as that gave him full legal backing. The essay finishes with him wondering if they will even understand his motive for having killed the elephant as he merely wished to salvage his pride. The narrator's conscience plagues him greatly as he finds himself trapped between the "hatred of the empire [he] served" and his "rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make [his] job impossible.

The degree to which the story is fiction has been disputed. No independent account of Orwell's actions has been found and there was no official record of the incident, which was unusual considering the destruction of valuable property.

1. Introduction

Peter Davison , the editor of Orwell's Complete Works , includes an interview with George Stuart, a contemporary of Orwell in Burma, who said that Orwell was transferred to Kathar as punishment for shooting an elephant. It was not long after the incident that he was transferred from Moulmein to a quiet post in Upper Burma called Katha. Kenny shooting an elephant in similar circumstances. When one biographer questioned Orwell's wife, Sonia Brownell , she replied, "Of course he shot a fucking a [sic] elephant.

He said he did. Why do you always doubt his word!


  • Shooting an Elephant.
  • Popular Essays.
  • Orwell's essay 'Shooting an Elephant' was published in 1936;

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Literary work. Princeton University Press, , pp. New York: The Penguin Press. Retrieved Mostly, there is an abrupt beginning with the story starting in medias res and an open ending. The ending is often also an abrupt one similar to the ending of an anecdote with the storyline coming to a solution in the form of a punch line.

Further, ending, title and beginning often contain central information regarding the analysis of the text.

Summary of "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell discussed in Hindi

The characters presented in a short story are limited to only few in most cases and usually symbolise stock characters. Regarding the perspective of narration, there is only one usually; changes of the perspective are uncommon. The narrator is a British police officer who notices a strong anti-European feeling among the natives.

Although a representative of British power, the narrator sympathises with the oppressed natives and their country but is forced to act according to imperial aims. This conflict is revealed by the central event of the story.

Pride and Power in George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" and "A Hanging"

When the narrator receives a call, he is commissioned to bring an eloped elephant under control. In order to defend himself in case of an attack, he takes a rifle, which makes the natives think that the elephant is going to be shot. Once the narrator arrives, he finds a peaceful animal which offers no danger. Therefore, he decides not to shoot, but there is the mass of natives behind him that demands the police officer shooting the elephant.

It takes several shots for the animal to dye painfully. The officer cannot stand this scenery and leaves while the natives have already started tearing out pieces of meat. He concludes stating that shooting the elephant was necessary as a means of demonstrating power and ensure British dominion. The most striking and obvious parallel is the fact that Orwell himself served as a police officer in Burma from to He was educated at Eton and then volunteered to serve in India.

Pride and Power in George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" and "A Hanging"

Orwell definitely had a personal relation to Moulmein. His grandmother and his aunt Nora lived there and Orwell had come to visit them several times before his service for the Imperial Police started in In this case, there is not only a personal relation to the place but also to personal interests and activities. He may even refer to his own experience as a British football player during his time in Burma. In the text he writes about the terrible circumstances Burmese prisoners have to bear. In September , he went to Insein , the city with the second-largest jail in Burma.

He mentions. This quote reveals the narrator as an Englishman who sympathises with the native population and who despises their brutal oppression. This statement brought by a servant of the Empire evokes the question of integrity but Orwell himself, though anti-imperialistic in his thinking, never revealed this attitude towards political order to his colleagues.

None of his companions would ever have thought him opponent to imperialistic convictions. I translated the definition and put it in my own words as good as possible. Seminar Paper, 14 Pages, Grade: 1,5. S W Swantje We Author. Add to cart. Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Definitions 2.