Last Updated 02 Aug 2020

Shooting an Elephant Critical Analysis

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The narrator does not necessarily lie the locals in lower Burma but he was sent their to police them. The reason why he does not like the locals too much is because they hate him with a passion. The narrator is put in a position in which he greatly dislikes. He was sent there by the British government as to help imperialize the country. He does not like imperialism, which in turn makes him hate his job. His mind favors with the locals when the subject is imperialism, that it is taking advantage of a group of people to an extreme extent.

The reason why the narrator can not sympathize with the native indians is because he is seen by them to be working with imperial Britain, which he is, but does not want to do so. The native taunt and laugh at him because the sense no real fear from him. The narrator eventually shoots the elephant because he feels that he is pressured to do so. He did not want to shoot the elephant but he had a crowd of over two thousand local indians waiting to see him shoot the elephant that had terrorized the local town. He feels that is wrong to kill a large animal because they are like “huge costly pieces of machinery”.

Killing it would be throwing the owners money away. The confession that the narrator states in the end does not surprise me one bit. I did not even view it as a confession. He did what he had to in the situation that was given. He did not want to kill the elephant but he was basically forced to do so. The narrator was looking for a reasonable answer for firing the elephant gun for his own sanity. The thesis of “shooting an elephant” is in its name. Shooting an elephant is an analogy for imperialism. One smaller country taking down a bigger yet weaker country only for its resources or to make a buck.

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This essay also shows that imperialism affects the oppressed as well as the oppressor. Because of imperialisms immoral relationship of power, it compels the oppressor to act immorally to keep up the appearance that he is right. The most memorable image throughout the entire essay is right before the narrator realizes that he has no choice but to shoot the elephant. He sees the elephant tearing up grass from the earth, shaking off the dirt by hitting the grass against his knees, and eating it. The elephant is finally peaceful before he is shot down.

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