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George Orwell's Self Reflection

5 pages
1265 words
George Washington University
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Going through George Orwells Shooting an Elephant essay, it can be described as demonstration of one of the remarkable imminent into the personal consciousness. Throughout the essay, there exists a presentation of a dominant theme of self conflict. He expresses a severe self conflict between what he thinks of and should do as a colonial policeman and the general inner conflict between what he believes on as a human being. The essay provides one of the effective and amazing demonstrations by illustrating these conflicts through self awareness and various attitudes .This is done by using imagery to describe his circumstances and by offering a tale that develops a reflection on the whole situation. Being that Orwell is treated disrespectfully by the Burmese, he ended up hating his job and through his life experience as a British officer, Orwell emotionally provide a broader illustration on the negative impact of imperialism on society and individuals. This is expressed through self-reflection.

Orwell calls himself a puppet to emphasize and prove the fact that, even the oppressors sometimes have to lose their freedom and are subjected to living under the pressure of those whom they are subjecting to oppression. This normally happens when an imperialistic system takes place in the society. In the essay, Orwell starts by showing self conflict by demonstrating the experience and how what he went through working as a British police officer. By the nature of the service he offered to Britain as a policeman, it shows great loyalty to his nation even though he was living by the belief that colonialism was one of the evilest elements to be subjected to individuals. Orwell self conflict is rising from the fact that he has developed a negative attitude towards the imperial empire of British by hating it, hence making him sympathy with Burmese individuals even though he refused to do so.

This is illustrated through using words like, All I recognize was that I was stuck between my rage against the evil-spirited beasts who worked on making my task impossible and my hatred that I developed on the empire I am serving. (Orwell) Additionally, Orwell creates a greater reflection by continue to mention words like, "I thought of the British Raj as one of the tyrannies that were unbreakable and as something clamped down upon the prostrate peoples will, with another section thinking that the greatest joy in the world is by driving a bayonet into a Buddhist priest" (Orwell). Through such reflection, Orwell demonstrated severe hatred and was not happy with what was going on in the whole region hence creating an inner conflict between what he believes as the police officer and that one of a normal human being.

George Orwell finds himself in one of the challenging situation that involves an elephant. In the essay, the elephant's fate lies in his hands and the great dilemma, only Orwell can make the last decision. Surprisingly, the elephant ends up lying dying in the pool as a result of Orwells decision. Through the essay, he wins the reader sympathy by an expression of the pressure that he was feeling as an Anglo India in Burma, who showed great compassion for the dying elephant. Additionally, in the Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell creates a vivid illustration on his experience working as a British police officer in the region of lower Burma, generally through the essay brings out a reflection to the nature of imperialism. The just incidence that involved shooting of an elephant is in Orwells story is the main focus from which Orwell raises his major arguments through its executioner and the elephants as the dominant characters. Ideally, the elephant symbolizes the victim of imperialism, while the British officer who is the executioner, acts as a symbol of the imperial country.

Going through the essay, a specific effect is established through making use of different structures. Orwell describes the picture of, To come all the way with a rifle in hand, surrounded by two thousand individuals who are matching at my heels, and then to walk with great fear, having done nothing- no, that was not possible (15). It is important to note that Orwell is using the parallel phrases in bringing a recap to the whole situation. Although making use, anacoluthon link all over sudden gives opportunity to Orwell to demonstrate the significant pressure that was put on him by those who were chasing him, showing that there is no chance either no way was created for him to run away from the elephant. On the other hand, for a greater reflection, Orwell is using the parallel phrases to create a description of the impact that was subjected to the elephant, after the first shot was made. One would raise the thought that, even for the bullet to penetrate there, a dreadful, puzzling change had come on the elephant (Orwell, p.16). Typically, what is coming out from the expressed structure is an intensified reaction and a great shock on the reader's side, hence helping Orwell to prove on great courage and what it normally take to make a difficult decision.

Making the final decision to shoot the elephant was a serious struggle for Orwell, great thoughts run through his mind on whether to shot the elephant or not. Immediately he had shot the elephant, the finally ended up dying in front of him and thousands of individuals who were after him were now amazed at what happened. Orwell finally decided to speak out by telling the Burmese crowd that he was forced to shoot the elephant since the Burmese crowd expected him to do so. It was the great surprise when he added that he to avoided being viewed as a fool in front of the large crowd, the only option he was left with was to kill the elephant (Orwell,p.14). Comparatively, from what happened one can conclude that Orwell decision was based on the fact that it was right for the elephant to be killed to save his face, rather what came out was that his decision to kill the elephant was from the pressure that was coming from the crowd. Through the incidence, it is important to note that Orwell got the opportunity to tell the world about the nature of imperialism, making the elephant to be a representation of the British. This made great sense.

Orwell could demonstrate how the large crowd started following him, just because of the rifle. Defiantly deep inside his heart, Orwell had no intention of killing the elephant. However the pressure that was coming from the crowd as a great thirst that they wanted the elephant to be killed, just to gain its meat and not that the elephant caused destruction on the bazaar. As a result of the pressure to get, no chance was left on Orwell but to shoot the elephant. As Orwell demonstrated, he showed that the elephant was to be killed to make the natives impressed. And by not considering on killing the elephant, the crowd could have judged and laughed at him.

With the lion being a representation of imperialism, well living in the middle of Burmese individuals and the imperialism refused to bring to an end imperialism regime. With realizing how much the elephant has done great damage to the innocent Burmese individuals, he came to realize the impact on imperialism to the individuals this made him kill the elephant. Even though he didnt bring to end imperialism, Orwell believes that the evil will come to an end.


Work Cited

Orwell, George. Shooting an elephant. Penguin UK, 2003.


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