analysis of shooting an elephant

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In this coursework, we are about to analyse the short story Shooting an Elephantwritten by George Orwell. George Orwell actually is a pen name, and his real name is Eric Arthur Blair. He was born in 25 June 1903 21 January 1950 and is English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense, revolutionary opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism. George Orwells Shooting an Elephant first appeared in 1936.Shooting an Elephant functions as an addendum to Burmese Days.Shooting an Elephant is a central text in modern British literature and has generated perhaps more criticism than any other comparable short piece. In the politicized atmosphere of contemporary criticism, commentators are especially drawn into debate about whether Orwell apologizes for or condemns imperialism. Left-wing critics see insufficient condemnation; conservative critics point out that it is the narrator, an agent of empire, who explicitly denounces the British presence as pervasively corrupting to both sides. The story is one of the most widely anthologized and studied items of the modern English-language canon.


Theme A theme is the main idea, or message, of an essay, paragraph, or a book.2.1

The Evil of Imperialism

One of the theme in the story is iImperialism is evil. First, it humiliates the occupied people, reducing them to inferior status in their own country. Second, it goads the occupiers into making immoral or unethical decisions to maintain their superiority over the people. In Shooting an Elephant, the narrator acts against his own conscience to save face for himself and his fellow imperialists. For example some line in the short story is I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served.2.2

Loss of Freedom in a Colonized Land

Second theme is when imperialists colonize a country, they restrict the freedom of the natives. In so doing, the imperialists also unwittingly limit their own freedom in that they tend to avoid courses of action that could provoke the occupied people. In Shooting an Elephant, the narrator realizes that he should allow the elephant to live, but he shoots the animal anyway to satisfy the crowd of natives who want him to kill it. He then says, 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. 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.2.3


Although the narrator seems to respect the natives as fellow human beings, other Europeans regard the Burmese and Indians with contemptan attitude made clear near the end of the story: "[T]he younger [Europeans] 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."

.......Historically, the British placed their own men in positions of authority in the colonial government in India, which then incorporated Burma, and natives in inferior positions. Moreover, the British generally did not socialize with the natives.

3.0 SettingSetting includes time and place. Details that describe setting might include weather, time of day, location, landscape, and even furniture. All of these things can contribute to the understanding of a scene.

In most stories, the action changes from one place to another. Time can be expressed specifically or in general terms, such as the time of day, the time of the year, or a time in the past or future. For example, The setting is Burma (present-day Myanmar) in the 1920s, when

the country was a province of India. The action takes place in the town of Moulmein in the southern part of the province, called Lower Burma, a rice-growing region on the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.


Plot Plot is all the events in a story particularly rendered toward the achievement of

some particular artistic or emotional effect or general theme. Plot consists of five components to plot which is exposition, rising action , Climax, Falling action, and Resolution. Exposition is the beginning of the plot that concerned with introducing characters and setting. Then, rising action which is the central part of a story during which various problems arise, leading up to the climax. Climax is the high point of the story, where a culmination of events create the peak of the conflict. Falling action is a part of a story following the climax. Lastly, resolution action conclusion of the story. which mean the


Rising Action

Falling Action