He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. Following is the major theme of the essay Shooting an Elephant. The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill. Drop me a line anytime, whether it’s about any queries or demands or just to share your well being. Sheridan 9/3/2014 In George Orwell’s short story about a white police officer living in Lower Burma, there is given a striking metaphor of Britain’s reign in the times of the British Raj. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies.Accept, ‘What I have most wanted to do… is to make political writing into an art’, Out of body, out of mind - Rhianna Prewitt, 'Why Did You Organise the Protest?' Alive, the elephant was worth at least a hundred pounds; dead, he would only be worth the value of his tusks, five pounds, possibly. "Shooting an Elephant" is an essay by New Writing in the autumn of 1936 and broadcast by the BBC Home Service on October 12, 1948. Shooting an Elephant " by George Orwell is a narrative essay about Orwell's time as a police officer for the British Raj in colonial Burma. As to the evil I had already sent back the pony, not wanting it to go mad with fright and throw me if it smelt the elephant. he did not quite realise how utterly futile was the white man's domination in The crowd grew very still, and a deep, low, happy sigh, as of people who see the theatre curtain go up at last, breathed from innumerable throats. h. What purpose does Orwell intend his narrative to serve? missed an opportunity of baiting white men or jeering at them. imperialist policy. who have served in the colonies. As a hardcore literary lover, I am pursuing my dream by writing notes and articles related to Literature. In shooting an elephant one should shoot to cut an imaginary bar running from ear hole to ear hole. and he hated himself for being a tool of imperialist domination. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. Hello, Viewers! (Somehow it always seems worse to kill a large animal.) Looking at As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. the sahib was surely going to shoot the elephant. Its mahout, the only person who could manage it when it was in that state, had set out in pursuit, but had taken the wrong direction and was now twelve hours’ journey away, and in the morning the elephant had suddenly reappeared in the town. What country is "Shooting an Elephant" set in? For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. This is when the country was under British colonial rule. 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. his position. They were watching me as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a trick. At the second shot he did not collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. extra-ordinary strength, courage and determination, who must remain unmoved in The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. I was sub-divisional police And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East. try to inflict injuries on white men whenever they could do it with impunity, But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behind. crisis, he realised the bitter truth : "when the white man turns tyrant it Then the veils of a woman attracted his attention. The officer is chasing down an elephant that is running amuck in the town. I did not know what I could do, but I wanted to see what was happening and I got on to a pony and started out. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had almost made up my mind that the whole story was a pack of lies, when we heard yells a little distance away. Sometimes the author felt tempted to have his revenge on these jeering He neither stirred nor fell, but every line of his body had altered. Read the story, “Shooting an Elephant,” here. They had not shown much interest in the elephant when he was merely ravaging their homes, but it was different now that he was going to be shot. 637 times. He was already hated for being an English police officer by the locals in Burma. In the end I could not stand it any longer and went away. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly. He had been trampled to The short story Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell takes place in British controlled India. their hatred of the white man found expression through devious ways. The crowd would laugh at me. insults. They would even Respect from the villagers means shooting the elephant, not shooting the elephant; humiliation. Besides being the Founder and Own…, Copyright © 2020 All About English Literature All Right Reseved, Shooting an Elephant : Critical Analysis or Orwell's View on Imperialism, Shooting an Elephant as a Postcolonial Essay, "the I’d love to hear from you. Even though he was a part of the e Burmans were bringing dash and baskets even before I left, and I was told they had stripped his body almost to the bones by the afternoon. “Shooting an elephant” is a book that narrates George Orwell’s experiences while working as a law enforcement official in Burma. In the narrative “Shooting an Elephant” perception and obedience play an important role. And though Shooting an Elephant is a narrative essay, it gives us a fairly clear idea of Orwell's view of British imperialist domination in the East. Moulmein. An Analysis of Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”Erika Moreno-Dalton In Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell finds himself in a difficult situation involving an elephant. Shooting an Elephant, by George Orwell is a story how a young Orwell, while stationed in Colonial Burma, became disillusioned with Imperialism. The friction of the great beast’s foot had stripped the skin from his back as neatly as one skins a rabbit. As a police officer, the author was an obvious target of such petty attacks and bears ample evidence to the evils of imperialist domination. He gets his chance to be the hero when an elephant gets loose and causes destruction and the people need him to kill the beast. The essay delves into an inner conflict that Orwell experiences in his role of representing the British Empire and upholding the law. I took my rifle, an old 44 Winchester and much too small to kill an elephant, but I thought the noise might be useful in terrorem. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground even where I lay. The rifle was a beautiful German thing with cross-hair sights. Keep in mind that the following plan is just ONE example of what could be done with this text. At this moment, he turned round Besides being the Founder and Owner of this website, I am a Government Officer. Problématique : How does the essay reflect Orwell's anti-imperialist position? I ought to walk up to within, say, twenty-five yards of the elephant and test his behavior. Sign In. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. Get all latest content delivered straight to your inbox. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. expectation of the thousands of natives surrounding him. "devils', but his better reason always prevailed. elephant rifle for him. As I started forward practically the whole population of the quarter flocked out of the houses and followed me. His mouth slobbered. described in his essay Shooting an Elephant. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things. Would I please come and do something about it? Save. myth with no substance at all. I remember that it was a cloudy, stuffy morning at the beginning of the rains. He was stuck in the middle of the situation between Burmese and British imperialism. For at that moment, with the crowd watching me, I was not afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have been if I had been alone. to live up to the image of the white men in the colonies-a man of in British occupied Burma, Orwell was not favourably disposed to the British It blocked the road for a long distance on either side. And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant. The Elephant Quotes in Shooting an Elephant The Shooting an Elephant quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Elephant. One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. The thick blood welled out of him like red velvet, but still he did not die. 0. But it would be going rather I fired a third time. Only he can make the final decision. dictates of his own conscience. It was not, of course, a wild elephant, but a tame one which had gone “must.” It had been chained up, as tame elephants always are when their attack of “must” is due, but on the previous night it had broken its chain and escaped. The Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it. The transitions he makes between narration and the actual story is so subtle the flow of the essay is easy to read. Ills of British Imperialism: George Orwell, in the narrative essay Shooting an Elephant, expresses his feelings towards British imperialism. realised that the white man's superiority over the natives was but a hollow elephant. Early one morning the sub-inspector at a police station the other end of the town rang me up on the phone and said that an elephant was ravaging the bazaar. effects of imperialism, Orwell's views have been confirmed by many white men And at that distance, peacefully eating, the elephant looked no more dangerous than a cow. At the sight of this weapon, the people who had They all said the same thing: he took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he might charge if you went too close to him. Thus, he was not free to act according to the Preview this quiz on Quizizz. He rightly recognized citizen's manifesto against the powers that be". It made me vaguely uneasy. One morning, he received the news that an As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so. I looked at the sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes-faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot. The crowd reaches the rice paddies, and Orwell spots the elephant standing next to the road. On his way, he received a lot of conflicting reports on the behaviour of the Shooting The Elephant By George Orwell's Shooting An Elephant 993 Words | 4 Pages. At last, after what seemed a long time – it might have been five seconds, I dare say – he sagged flabbily to his knees. 2 years ago. London WC1E 6BT, We use cookies. Among the Europeans opinion was divided. UCL, Gower Street Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty. bazaar area. And the history of our country under the British rule So he started out with his light rifle to see what the matter was. The older men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee coolie. They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching. In Moulmein, in lower Burma, 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. There was only one alternative. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd – seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. is his own freedom that he destroys." Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. Thus, from his own experience, he English. Institute of Advanced Studies, South Wing Wilkins Building essay, far more overt references to the evils of imperialism. And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. But, his pride and his position as a white police officer makes him decide to shoot anyway. Shooting an Elephant is mainly about the tussle going on in Orwell’s conscience while working as a police officer for the British in Burma. officer in Burma he had seen, ‘the dirty work of Empire at close quarters’. But, till that moment, the The author was then a sub-divisional police officer in At the onset of the narrative, the author explicitly explains how he is against the colonization and experiences an inner war. 2 years ago. Even the advocates of imperialism would find it I had no intention of shooting the elephant – I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary – and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following you. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralysed him without knocking him down. such feelings as the, But there are, in this shoot the elephant, after all. I sent back for my small rifle and poured shot after shot into his heart and down his throat. elephant, under the attack of 'must' had broken its chained was ravaging the It was obvious that the elephant would never rise again, but he was not dead. You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs. body of a black Dravidian coolie came into his view. The people said that the elephant had come suddenly upon him round the corner of the hut, caught him with its trunk, put its foot on his back and ground him into the earth. He was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side. Even from the start of his career as a police officer in British occupied Burma, Orwell was not favourably disposed to the British imperialist policy. He took not the slightest notice of the crowd’s approach. death by the elephant. Sheridan 1 Shooting an Elephant Dominic P.G. They had seen the rifle and were all shouting excitedly that I was going to shoot the elephant. I decided that I would watch him for a little while to make sure that he did not turn savage again, and then go home. The elephant was standing eight yards from the road, his left side towards us. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. (Never tell me, by the way, that the dead look peaceful. He felt that, in spite of all his reluctance, he would have to It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant – it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery – and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided. I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into which one would sink at every step. The tortured gasps continued as steadily as the ticking of a clock. When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. Shooting an Elephant Summary. But I did not want to shoot the elephant. They were going to have their bit of fun after all. for killing it unless it turned savage again. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: It was a very poor quarter, a labyrinth of squalid bamboo huts, thatched with palmleaf, winding all over a steep hillside. He had a genuine sympathy for the oppressed native people, This essay on Burma in “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell was written and submitted by your fellow student. the East. their eager, expectant faces, he suddenly realised the absolute helplessness of Finally I fired my two remaining shots into the spot where I thought his heart must be. The elephant is an important and expensive possession, and the narrator sees no sense in killing him. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves. Orwell also uses some elements of distress to express his controversy with shooting the elephant. 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