Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant ' Essay

1770 Words Apr 27th, 2016 8 Pages
An Elephant-Sized Dilemma Everyone, of all ages and time periods, faces a moral dilemma. This may be a smaller problem or a matter of life and death that has a far more wide-ranging impact, such as imperialism. In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant,” an unnamed narrator, despite his initial reluctance, succumbs to collective pressures to shoot a marauding elephant in Lower Burma. Orwell comments on the dangers of collective pressure and the horrors of imperialism in order to explore the moral dilemmas of imperialism in the short story “Shooting an Elephant.” Orwell employs simile and connotation relating to spectacle to describe the collective pressure on the narrator, thus creating conflict, and criticize that pressure. As the narrator heads towards the elephant with his rifle, he remarks that the Burmese “were watching [him] as they would watch a conjurer about to perform a trick” (Orwell 3). A “conjurer” puts on a show to give the crowd entertainment. Therefore, Orwell’s simile shows that, in this case, the crowd expects a spectacle and does not care about the elephant at all. Because of this, Orwell’s usage of this simile shows how the crowd’s pressures on the narrator are irrational and unsound. However, the narrator’s accedence to their demands demonstrates that collective pressures exert great power over the individual, and that collective pressure can produce devastating results against an oppressed minority or the defenseless elephant in this story. Therefore,…

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