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Shooting an elephant is a narrative of a British officer based at Moulmein. The narrator in the story has the aim of deriding imperialism in the world by using the British and Burma case. The essay tells the wrongs of new imperialism and the, extreme ill feelings against Europeans in the east. The narrator also tells on how conscience can prevent one from executing oppressive commands. The narrator puts one supremely significant incident in his career as a police officer that is shooting an elephant for not appearing a fool. After receiving information about a must elephant destroying the village area, he goes on a journey combing for the mammoth savage. In the first phase of the search, he finds a coolie treaded down. The death of the coolie gave him legal and possibly moral evidence in the killing of the beast.
The police requests for a rifle and finds the elephant in a rice field, he is not alone, but the watch of an imperial culture blazes at his battle. The glaring of the imperial culture depicts the tension between the locals and the foreign officers enforcing the law because the British powers had taken power. The writer also tells us that the locals did not like him but with the weapon in his arm he was worth of watching by the once hateful population. The officer never intended to harm the beast, but since he never wanted to disappoint the anxious crowd, he killed the elephant without regard of loses that would cause to the owner.
The story is a metaphor for British imperialism and for the persona’s perception that when the white man turns a dictator he destroys his own liberation. The narrator promotes the thought that imperialism destroys the winner and the loser. In his essay, Orwell candidly states his annoyance with the colonial Britain. He says that he had decided that imperialism was a wicked thing and he was in support of the Burmese, and against the oppressive British tyrants. Orwell admits that the Conqueror is not in control, but the citizens’ will dictates their actions.
The narrator gives the British and the Burmese natives remarkably distinct descriptions. The Burmese locals have the description as little beasts while the elephant representing the British is the key beast. Because of responsibility, he holds the enormous beast in higher esteem than the locals do. However, he held the foremost beast with much esteem his conscience provoked him exceedingly and entangled him between the hatred of his empire and his anger against the wicked-spirited little beasts who attempted to make his job difficult.
All the literary elements in the story have been used artistically and help to create the effect of repulsion to imperialism and its barbarities. The message in the essay sensitizes readers about the destruction caused by the tyrannical governments. The story assists the reader to comprehend metaphorically how in current times imperialism can be destructive to the conquered and the conqueror. The “shooting an elephant” theme portrays Orwell’s denotative invasion on imperialism and its wickedness. The attack is centered on his ordeal back when he worked at Burma under the British government. All the used elements help to affirm the central theme with the inclusion of pertinent details.
The plot, atmosphere and conflict among other things all circulate around the narrators theme. The arrangement of the plot helps create suspense and in expressing ideas clearly. The atmosphere of the story is rich with hatred because the Burmese hated the British invader, while the police officials hated the Burmese. Even though, Orwell did not hate the Burmese people, he did loathe his job and harbors sympathy for the people. The story is highly reliable since its narration is in the first person’s point of view; this makes the story trustworthy and consistent in its ideas. The country of Burma is known for use of elephants in transportation and other things; this makes the elephant symbolism most relevant in the essays context.