Shooting an elephant | Analytical essay

In life, everyone will face difficult decisions where you are easily influenced by others. You must choose between going with your opinion or filling a particular role.

George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, from 1936 is an example on that. The story takes place in Moulmein in lower Burma where the narrator describes the currently situation of the British Empire and imperialism.

Orwell was deployed in Burma, and therefore the main character can be personified as himself. Therefore, the short story can refer to the time he was in Burma.

You can see in the story that the narrator is a very conflict-filled person “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.”

In this conflict he is stuck between his hate against the British Empire, and his feelings to the people in Burma. The hate he is having against the British empire can be a result of the things he has experienced as a police officer.

Even though he has power and authority over the natives, he is still powerless to stop the abuse against the elephant. Through the story the narrator is in a conflict with himself.

Through the story, the narrator is in an inner conflict about whether he should shoot the elephant and perform his job correctly, or whether he should let the elephant live.

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