Bound By The Chains Of Imperialism

Bound by the chains of imperialism, Orwell’s helpless situation led him to be overwhelmed by the guilt of killing an elephant. He displayed his guilt and helplessness through the use of juxtaposition, metaphors, similes, imagery, and symbols.
Pressured by the Burman people and his desire to fulfill his duties as a policeman, Orwell made the decision to shoot the elephant.

Helpless and coerced, he pulled the trigger. Immediately, Orwell felt overwhelming guilt about killing the elephant. He described the elephant as dying, very slowly and in great agony(Orwell 1105). Orwell was pressured to kill the elephant in the first place, which made the slow death even harder for him. At one point, the death was so difficult for him to watch that he could not stand it any longer and went away(Orwell 1105). This example shows not only his helplessness and lack of control, but his character because he pitied the elephant and felt guilty for his actions.

The elephant itself was a symbol of the Burmese people and a metaphor for an earthquake. Both the Burmese people and the elephant were wild, uncontrollable, and unwieldy. Just like how the Burmese people defied british rule, the elephant was uncontrollable as well. In using the elephant as a symbol for the Burmese people, Orwell in a way satirizes the situation. This is a form of comic relief. Orwell described the final fall of the elephant as crash that seemed to shake the ground even where [he] lay(Orwell 1105). This metaphor shows how the elephant falling was like an earthquake: unplanned and monumental. This contributes to the initial guilt felt by Orwell because it was a situation inflicted by himself.

The use of the simile the thick blood welled out of him like red velvet(Orwell 1105) painted a picture in the minds of readers a gruesome and sorrowful scene. This scene was only discussed for a few detailed sentences. This was likely due to the amount of detail needed to build suspense for the scene. In yet another simile, he described the sheer size of the animal. He depicted the elephant to seem to tower like a huge rock toppling(Orwell 1105). This descriptive diction compares the elephant to a great rock. It shows how the elephant was helpless and harmless just like a rock right before its death. This description may come from Orwell’s guilt from killing something that could not even defend itself.

The simile of the elephant seeming to tower upward like a huge rock toppling(Orwell 1105) can also be categorized under the stylistic device imagery. In this important scene, Orwell used descriptive words to make the reader feel like they actually witnessed this event. Words like huge rock and topple not only compare the elephant to other things, but help the reader grasp the situation by using every day vocabulary. This shows Orwell’s attitude toward the elephants death because of how much detail he put into each of the sentences regarding the elephants death.

Orwell continually used juxtaposition to display his emotions in the three paragraphs. In an example of both juxtaposition and simile, Orwell described the dying elephants trunk reaching skywards like a tree (Orwell 1105). In this sentence, he contrasts the elephant’s trunk and the tree. By doing this, he shows empathy and detail for the death of the elephant. In another example of simile and juxtaposition, Orwell depicted the elephant in its final stages as having thick blood [welling] out of him like red velvet (Orwell 1105).

In this example, he contradicts(?) the blood of the elephant and the velvet-like look of how it flowed. Although he only described the actual death of the elephant in a few sentences, the great attention to detail showed how much he cared and how guilty he felt of inflicting its death.
All in all, the narrator George Orwell used stylistic devices and rhetorical strategies to convey his attitude toward shooting an elephant. His guilt was evident through his various writing strategies.

Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

In Shooting an Elephant George Orwell recounted an event from his life during his stationary in Burma, that he detested. He was stuck in the middle of the situation between Burmese and British imperialism. He was faced with a moral dilemma, forcing him to make unanticipated choices leaving long-lasting effects to him as to save his pride.

Orwell presented the strained tension between the Burmese and British during his time he served in Burma. All of his hatred towards British imperialism and Burmese made him feel isolated. As he described, “…imperialism was an evil thing…” (750). The bitter feelings between the two created an invisible wall leaving Orwell to be in the center of the situation. He hated the natives because he was receiving the bitter feelings from them, as it was towards the oppressive British empire.

Orwell didn’t fit in the society because even though he was a British officer, his insight of the empire was evil. As he described, you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters (750). As an officer, he saw the insight of cruelty that was enforced by the Britishers through the closed doors. Orwell never got himself involved between the two evils and only waited until his serving is over. However, he encounters one of the turning points in his life with the incident of the beast.

This defining moment drove Orwell into the standing position of choosing between two inexpedient alternatives. As the elephant in heat rampage through the village and resulted in killing a Coolie. Orwell exchanged his .44 rifle with an elephant gun, thus rose the Burmese expectation of a sahib. Seen from the circumference of the field, the elephant “must” had past and was in no harm. Nonetheless, an army of Burmese breathing heavily on Orwell’s shoulders assumed a show to go on. Giving him a standing position of being empowered, the growth of natives soon rattles him. Sighting the elephant peacefully eating grass, gave him the rationalization that he shouldn’t eliminate the elephant; as it was a priceless and beneficial beast.

He soon realized that it was a vital faux pas, for the firearm rendered the Burmese presumption. One choice was to let the beast live, following his morals, and abide the mockery of the Burmese. The other option was to omit his conscience and shoot the elephant. Orwell was conflicted as to choose between the life of the beast or his prestige. He must shoot the elephant in order to present a strong reputation: The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would pursued There was only one alternative. I shoved the cartridges into the magazine and lay down on the road to get a better aim (754). He didn’t focus on his conscience and acted upon the motivation from the thoughts of shame. The sound of the gunshots and the images of the beast slow death was still imprinted in his mind after many years. He was bothered by the fact that his pride was too high, causing him to ignore his morals.

Some choices are made by the expectations of others and not their morals. Those little trivial decisions can affect one’s life later in the years. When one encounters an elephant and is indecisive as to kill the beast in order to please the crowd or following one’s conscience but is a laughing stock. Whichever it may be, this will forever be imprinted in one’s mind.

Orwell Is Working As The Police

Orwell is working as the police officer of Moulmein, Burma, a British colony. In the eyes of the village, Orwell is, like the rest of the English, a military occupier, leaving him loathed by the majority of the village. Although the villagers never stage a revolt, they do express their repugnance by harassing Europeans at every given opportunity.

Orwell is tripped up during soccer games and insults are hurled at him as he patrols the streets of Moulmein. Even the young Buddhist priests torment Orwell. While Orwell may hold military supremacy and symbolic authority, he is still relatively powerless against the jargons and abuses he receives from the Burmese people.

Orwell is both theoretically and secretly on the Burmese side and is opposed to the domineering empire he serves, so the actions of the Burmese people confuse him. With his role of handling despicable prisoners, grants him a firsthand view of the dirty work of Europe, causing him to feel enormously guilty for his role in everything. This leads Orwell to contradictory thinking and causes him to pit different sets of his personal principles against each other. It is apparent that his morality starkly opposes the abuses that are caused by both his empire and his role within that empire. With his hasty bitterness of being humiliated, paired with a sense that those participating in this humiliating, should see him as their superior and their better. While Orwell considers the British Empire an immoral tyranny, he still despises the impudent Burmese who continue to make his time there, torture. Orwell even states that his mindset is one that is shared by many of the other officers in the British Raj.

Orwell’s story takes a turn when one day he receives a call from another policeman, informing Orwell that a rogue elephant has been rampaging through town. Orwell makes his way to where the elephant was last seen. En route, locals explain to Orwell that the elephant is having an outbreak of the must, when a tame elephant who is held in chains, breaks their restraints and goes berserk. This is where the elephant can be viewed as a symbol of colonialism. Much like the Burmese people who have been colonized and who also torment Orwell, the elephant has been provoked into this destructive behavior by being oppressed. As Orwell continues to track the elephant, he tries to make out what is what in this situation.

Much like is previous experiences in Asia, he is discovering that the story begins to make less sense as he gains more knowledge. In the same way, he does cannot comprehend precisely how he squeezes into the power dynamics of colonial Burma, Orwell struggles with finding a clear narrative of the elephant’s mysterious rampage. Clearly, colonialism and the power dynamics it involves are much too intricate to be withheld in a single straightforward point of view.

After finding a victim of the elephant lying dead in the mud, Orwell orders a subordinate to retrieve a firearm large enough to stop an elephant in its gigantic tracks. As the gun is brought to Orwell, he discovers that the elephant is in a nearby rice field. Now followed by almost the entire village, Orwell walks to the field. Even previously disinterested residents are now following after hearing of the weapon Orwell is carrying, wishing to see the great beast shot. Orwell’s feelings of discomfort become apparent as he had not planned on shooting the animal, he had simply wanted it as self-defense. However now with the pressure of the whole village weighing on him, it appears that the Burmese appear to wield the power over Orwell, undermining the colonial hierarchy.

Orwell no longer appears as an authoritative figure, rather a spectacle, he begins to sense he cannot completely control the situation he has been placed in. Orwell and the crowd enter the rice fields, only to discover a calm animal eating grass. Orwell compares killing an elephant to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery, and now looking at a peaceful animal, he comes to the decision that he cannot shoot it. Orwell empathizes with the oppressed Burmese, identifying that the elephant is a passive, peaceful creature that has been ushered into rebellion only by its maltreatment. Much like the elephant is to Orwell, Burma is essentially a valuable piece of property, yet another metaphorical link between colonialism and the peaceful elephant.

As the crowd grows to over two thousand people, Orwell feels as he is a magician tasked with entertaining his crowd, and comes to the conclusion that he is now obliged to shoot the elephant. By being placed in front of a crowd, Orwell has to take on a performative persona that makes him act opposite to every rational instinct within his body. Orwell states, when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. Realizing that he committed to killing the elephant the moment he spoke for the weapon to be brought. Orwell cannot tolerate mistreatment from the people, even though he realizes that he, a colonist, is in the wrong.

Orwell continues to fight his inner thoughts to kill the elephant. He says that it appears Grandmotherly to him killing it would be a waste of an expensive commodity, along with a form of murder. Orwell decides to approach the animal, putting himself in danger in order to see if the animal behaved aggressively, and if it did, he would shoot. Orwell’s fear of humiliation is now the driving force behind his decisions. It appears that the conventions of imperialism are what is causing Orwell to feel bound to perform such an inhumane and irrational deed. He loads the gun, lies down, and takes aim.

Orwell’s description of the elephant’s distress is unbearable, and Orwell is clearly emphasizing the barbarity of his actions. He depicts the elephant as almost most magnificent right as it falls with defeat, symbolizing its moment of bodily defeat, becoming a more powerful representation of the illogical viciousness of colonization. The way in which Orwell killed the elephant, is in the same as how the British are inhumane not out of necessity, but rather out of ignorance regarding both the land and the people it has colonized.

Orwell’s decision to kill the elephant was contentious. The owner of the Elephant was angry, with right. However, being Indian, had no legal right to react. Orwell continues to note that he is thankful that the elephant killed a man, giving his actions legal reasoning. Orwell even ponders if any the other police officers would understand that he killed the elephant solely to avoid looking like a fool. Orwell’s conclusion is that although logic can be paced into colonialism from afar, the real underlying inspiration of its savagery is the simple triumph of irrational uncertainty and the role-playing over ethics or human empathy.

Short Story Shooting An Elephant

The short story Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell takes place in British controlled India. Orwell was a police officer for the British, located in Lower Burma, and tensions between the Natives and the British ran high. Without Britain’s involvement in India, Orwell would not have felt the societal pressures to shoot the elephant.

The British had established themselves in India by the early 18th century, primarily from the British East India Company, whose primary exports were cotton cloth, opium, silk, and indigo dye. Once the French withdrew from India following the Seven Years War in 1763, the British had the full Ability to take control over India. Over the first half of the 19th century, the British colonized independent Indian territories until the last independent territory, the Punjab region, was seized in 1849. In an effort to regain control of their land, the Indian Mutiny occurred in 1857, but only resulted in increased control and the establishment of central administration. The British Raj was instituted in 1858 and lasted until 1947; during this time the British Empire had social, economic, and political control over India.
The story begins with I was hated by large numbers of people (Orwell 1). This sets the tone for the entire story, establishing the social tensions in the first sentence.

The British were hated among the Natives, and were openly targeted, according to Orwell. Although the British were the minority, they had the highest social status and disregarded the general caste system in India that was present before British colonization in regard to themselves. The caste system was set up into four separate castes: The highest is the Brahmans (priests and teachers). Second was the Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors). Followed by the Vaishyas (merchants and traders) and finally was the Sudras (workers and peasants) (Kuah 1). The Europeans were on top of any Native no matter their caste. Despite being the majority of the population, the Natives were too fearful to revolt. This created high social tensions between the two groups and were one of the primary reason’s Orwell felt he had to shoot the elephant.

George Orwell thought must he prove his authority and status as the only Non-native during the incident by shooting the animal unprovoked. Orwell states, Here was I, the white man with his gunseemingly the leader of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind he shall spend his life trying to impress the natives’, and so in every crisis he has got to do what the natives’ expect of him(4).

The natives were going to judge Orwell for whatever choice he made; Britain’s need to emphasize their power through intimidation was a sign of their fear. This is the same fear George Orwell felt on a smaller scale. Orwell writes, I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behindA white man mustn’t be frightened in front of the ‘natives’; and so, in general, he isn’t frightened (5).

Essay Shooting An Elephant

In the essay Shooting an Elephant,George Orwell uses plenty of imagery to show a specific scene to the reader. He goes into full detail during the shooting to evoke his senses and emotions at the time of the event. This is shown to the audience when describing the natives and the gruesome deaths of the Dravidian coolie and the elephant.

Orwell claims to be “all for the Burmese and all against the British and his ideas are truly apparent in his descriptions of the “wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lockups…who had been Bogged with bamboos,” who are portrayed as victims of harsh British rule. The prisoners had been dealt with like animals and were stored restrained in small cramped rooms inside the maximum inhumane situations. Revealing the dirty work of the British empire by operating as a police officer, Orwell encounters the brutalities of the empire up near.

After coming across “an old woman…violently shooing away a crowd of naked children, he witnesses a dead body sprawling in the mud. The imagery used to explain the corpse graphically paints a gloomy portrait: his face had scored a trench a foot deep and a couple of yards long. He was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side. His face was coated with mud, the eyes wide open, the teeth bared and grinning with an expression of unendurable agony.”

At the moment that the narrator looks back on the crowd of natives behind him, he depicts the people as a sea of yellow faces, hungry for action and excitement. The image of a rumbling sea, tossing and turning with excitement, creates a sense of power behind the fa?§ade of the once helpless natives. Even though Orwell did not want to kill the tranquil creature he knew that it was the only thing he could do to not look like a fool in front of the natives. This shows that he was being forced to do something he wasn’t really able to do on his own. Orwell feels this power as a firm force pressuring him to shoot the elephant.

Orwell paints a picture for the reader so vivid that one feels as if they are prone on the hillside. After firing two more rounds he goes on to say that was the shot that did for him. “You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs…He trumpeted, for the first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground where I lay.” – After firing his two remaining rounds into the elephant’s chest, “thick blood welled out of him like red velvet…the tortured breathing continued without a pause”.

He compared the blood to red velvet, he presents a visual and richly textured picture that sticks out from the opposite language and efficiently increases the gravity of the death. He describes these horrible events with such detail that the reader is guaranteed that they are forever burned into Orwell’s mind.

Orwell uses the imagery in this essay to move the reader’s senses and obtains feelings of sympathy for not only the elephant but Orwell himself. Ultimately, this essay helps as an extended metaphor for his feelings towards the British imperialist regime. His hatred for the empire under which he serves and mixed feelings towards the Burman people is obvious throughout the body of work.

Wibbly, Wobbly, Timey, Wimey Paradoxes: Rhetoric and Contradiction in “Shooting an Elephant”

Though at times confusing, using a contradiction strongly establishes and emphasizes a point and often inspires an emotional response. In George Orwell’s essay, “Shooting an Elephant,” Orwell effectively delivers these contradictions, or paradoxes, in a manner that defines human nature in political situations and illustrates the issues with such responses. These rhetorical devices add depth to Orwell’s argument that better persuade the reader to consider his position on human nature in political situations.

To claim that “…when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys,” Orwell implies that, in the context of the time period of British Imperialism, any leader that runs rampant in their country is destined to sacrifice their own freedom in addition to pulverizing the freedom of the others’ they are desperate to control. In the essay, Orwell describes himself as being “…stuck between [his] hatred of the empire [he] served and [his] rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make [his] job impossible.” His job as an Indian Imperial police officer makes him loyal to Imperialist Britain, yet, he wants to help the oppressed Indians, regardless of how poorly they treat him. This is an example of how the white man destroys his own freedom when attempting to viciously control or expand into other countries, as Great Britain was doing in this era.

Orwell later argues with himself about shooting the elephant before realizing that he must with the crowd watching him. This is his loss of freedom based on his loyalty to the British Empire that had run tyrant. It is human nature, in political situations, to either consciously or subconsciously sacrifice something personal for the sake of the whole. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. also proves this instinct in his description of the few white American, saying in “A Letter from Birmingham Jail,” “I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action.” This hesitation and resistance that King faced was a result of the oppressive government that, when loyal to that government, the freedom of that person is obliterated for the sake of suppressing another’s because their choices had to follow the strict guidelines they’d been given. Because of this, the paradox Orwell uses to emphasize how people react in the face of hardened, harsh government officials shoving rules and restrictions down their throats is effective, in that it shows how it’s human nature to follow orders and avoid being singled out for daring to speak out.

Orwell presses the issue of human instinct in times of racial and social segregation by saying that the white man “…wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it,” addressing the reality that, when oppressive governments or leaders, in general, press for something with enough force, the citizens under their rule will adhere to their wishes and at least pretend to stick to the status quo. The citizens adopt a persona, a “mask” that does not reflect their true feelings and thoughts for the sake of conformity. Ultimately, however, fantasy vanishes and what’s left is only reality. The citizens’ faces “grow to fit the mask,” and they, in turn, become their personas. The racist and controversial ideas people adapt, most commonly do to fear of their leaders, eventually solidify from facade to actuality which they then pass on to younger generations, of whom know nothing different as a result. This is true in Orwell’s account of shooting an elephant where he, again, describes himself as “…stuck between [his] hatred of the empire [he] served and [his] rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make [his] job impossible,” illustrating that, because he was forced to “wear a mask” in order to appease his leaders and aid in the suppression of the British-controlled India at the time, he came to despise the Indians as well, adhering to the stereotype. This is human nature: to go with the flow and keep quiet when having a differing opinion is the option many choose when faced with difficult political situations. Because the dictators and fascist governments of a given time created freakishly effective propaganda, many citizens feared reprimanding for posing an opposing argument to their leaders and adopted racial, social, sexuality, and religious discriminating perspectives to avoid being on the other side of the barrel of the gun. These “masks” they wore came to be truth, eventually, and they passed those ideas down to their children. This paradox Orwell makes is sound and true, proved in the accounts of World War II, because it adequately emphasizes how humans react to oppressive, power-greedy governments and leaders with how quickly they answer to fear and “…grow to fit [the mask].”

Orwell takes such simple phrases that initially seem merely contradictory and confusing, and he uses them to his advantage to inspire questions and emotions. These questions and emotions fall back to his concept of human nature in the face of political situations, and he effectively presents them in such a short and sweet way with the paradoxes that without them, the essay loses its effect to call attention to the issues with things such as imperialism. Because Orwell successfully creates these paradoxes that are not difficult to comprehend and can be supported with evidence in other essays such as “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and events in history, they add an element to the essay that strongly supports the argument. Though at times confusing, the complexity of paradoxes often changes an entire piece in a way that’s unattainable through anything else.

George Orwell: Modernism and Imperialism in “Shooting an Elephant”

“Shooting an Elephant,” a short story by George Orwell, is about a man who goes against his morals and succumbs to social pressures at the expense of an innocent elephant. The story, published in 1936, was influenced by the formal innovations and social thought of the Modernist Period. During this time, widespread British Imperialism had a great effect on society; Orwell’s life experiences and the current events of the time also greatly influenced his work. Orwell presents the Modernist themes of Imperialism, racial feuds and isolation using direct, matter-of-fact sentences and a truthful, conversational tone. Throughout, Orwell’s use of an honest first person stream of consciousness based on his experiences in India displays the racial tensions caused by Imperialism during the Modernist Period.

Born in 1903, Orwell lived towards the end of British Imperialism, a time of great conflict. The atrocities the British inflicted on their subjects, especially in India, greatly affected him. Great Britain colonized India and held control of it for over two centuries. The British exploited the country for its abundance of goods such as spices and gold, and used it to expand their trading routes and sphere of influence. Imperialism benefited the British, but not the Indians. When Britain gained control of India, the Indians faced persecution in their own country and forced assimilation into European culture. After spending time working as a police officer in a rundown village in Burma, India, Orwell became aware of these injustices. He was, “Keenly aware of the inequalities of Imperialism” (Hopkinson 2) and openly expressed his disdain for the practice. He details the horrors experienced by the Indian subjects in his stories. In his writing, Orwell reflects his first-hand experience of the evils of Imperialism and his great hatred of the British government.

The setting in Burma greatly impacted the story. Similar to the protagonist in the story, Orwell acted as the assistant district superintendent of the Imperial Police in Burma. During this time the author witnessed much discrimination and injustice towards the Indians. Only a select group of European men ruled millions of Indians through force, creating an imbalance of power. Orwell channeled his animosity into his writing by, “Immersing himself in difficult situations and then writing about them with extraordinary insight” (Hopkinson 1). By doing so, he helps the reader better understand the injustices of Imperialism. Orwell’s criticism of Imperialism and deep understanding of the plight of the Indians add thoughtful insight to the story.

The plot of “Shooting an Elephant” and the protagonist’s thoughts portray how racial tensions and societal expectations can alter a man’s values. The plot of the story demonstrates the racial tensions between the British Imperialists and the villagers of Burma. The European men control the villagers, which makes the unnamed protagonist feel like he must act powerful. He feels that, “He has got to do what the ‘natives’ expect of him” (Orwell 6) and be the powerful and brave leader they want him to be. For this reason, he takes action when a group of frenzied villagers tell him that a wild elephant is causing havoc in their village. At first, the protagonist has no intention of killing the elephant. He demonstrates this by only taking a small handgun for protection. This quickly changes. As he approaches the village, he sees a trampled corpse of a man and thousands of villagers. As the protagonist pursues the elephant, the large crowd follows, watching his every move. Although he did not originally plan on killing the elephant, he feels pressure from the villagers and shoots. The elephant does not die immediately, it takes many bullets and over half an hour for the elephant to slowly parish. The villagers watch in as awe as if the killing was their entertainment, and after the elephant dies, they scavenge for its meat.

Within the narration, there is much debate on whether or not the killing of the elephant is ethical. The protagonist internally struggles with having killed the elephant and is overwhelmed by guilt. In the end, the protagonist is relieved that the elephant killed a man, because it gave him the legal right to kill the elephant. But the protagonist did not kill the elephant to protect the village or because it was the right thing to do. He states that “Legally I had done the right thing,” (Orwell 9) but morally he did not. He killed the elephant to sustain his image as a strong leader and protect his ego.

By using first-person narration, Orwell displays the protagonist’s internal struggle regarding shooting the elephant. The protagonist narrates the story using a stream of consciousness to provide blunt, truthful accounts. He uses a didactic manner to educate the reader and describe the horrors of British Imperialism. He portrays Orwell’s hatred of British Imperialism and sympathy for the Burmese with an “Honest use of language” (Kinsella 1). By using first person narration, Orwell provides the reader with a glimpse into the protagonist’s inner thoughts and reveals “Extraordinary insight” (Kinsella 1). It also depicts the character development of the protagonist from a morally upstanding police officer to a weak-willed elephant murderer. The story includes the narrator’s inner thoughts to show his moral development and criticisms of the cruel Imperialistic system.

The three Modernist themes illustrated in “Shooting an Elephant” are Imperialism, racial feuds, and isolation. Portrayed negatively, Imperialism greatly influences the story. Orwell negatively describes Imperialism and reveals its immorality. The story displays the loss of freedom and injustices the villagers endure. The second theme, racial feuds, is shown through the tensions between the protagonist and the villagers. Because of the British Imperialism of Burma, India, a small group of Europeans are given power over the millions of Indians of the country. This great imbalance of power causes the villagers to resent the protagonist and the other Europeans in their country. The villagers had a bitter, “Anti-European feeling” (Orwell 1) toward the protagonist which affected their relationship. The third theme presented in the story is isolation. Because he is the only European in the village and one of the few white men in all of India, the narrator is ostracized. The British have rule over the Indians and domain over their country, so the narrator separates himself as the man in power. This causes him to feel like he must rise to meet the India’s great expectations of the white Europeans in power. British Imperialism of India causes racial feuds and isolation of the protagonist, which are three of the prominent themes of the story.

“Shooting an Elephant” illustrates the social tensions created by British Imperialism. Orwell draws off of his experiences as a police officer in Burma to develop the protagonist, which created a more insightful and realistic character. Using first person narration, Orwell clearly describes the narrator’s thoughts and emotions. Therefore, he is able to display the protagonist’s character development through the story. He transforms from an upstanding police officer to a weak-willed man that disregards his morals and better judgement to conform to the expectations of others. In addition, Orwell critiques British Imperialism in India and expresses his disdain for the treatment of the Burmese. He exposes their exploitation and the racist actions taken against them. Overall, George Orwell uses first person narration to portray the thoughts and emotions of the protagonist and draws on his own experiences with British Imperialism to create a short story highlighting the racial tensions in Burma, India. A man is no match for an elephant, unless he has a gun. The British troops would be no match for the millions of Indians, except they have guns. The slow death of the elephant reminds the reader of the long, cruel period of British Imperialism in India, which killed the free will of the Indians. Orwell uses the seemingly simple situation of a man shooting an elephant to bring to light the pain and consequences of Imperialism.