Analysis of Contrasts in Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant"

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A N A LY S I S O F C O N T R A S T S I N O R W E L L ’ S “ S H O O T I N G A N ELEPHANT”

“And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.” At firs glance it may seem that this sentence is really not important in comparison with lots of others in the, in my opinion, insanely great and perfectly written short story, “Shooting an Elephant”. This sentence is later reinforced at the end, “I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.” However, this small fact is crucial to the developments of the story, but there are more complex and wonderful themes told by Orwell, in perfectly built sentences, and sometimes extremely graphic, and on the other side, deep and inner, sensible, rather than visible, descriptions. Writing abut this particular topic doesn’t give me the freedom to analyze the structure of the work, but I should at least mention how sentences are precisely and fluently laid on over another. The main topic of this short essay would focus on the contrasts, which are one of the key elements of this story, hand in hand with symbols. I would like to present an overview of these elements and my interpretations. The introductory contrast of this piece is off course the contrast between the Europeans, the “invaders”, and the Indians respectively. The Europeans, colonizing and invading the land of the Burman Indians, were subject to great hatred and public humiliation. As the author notes “No one had the guts to raise a riot, but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress.” Later on, “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. Feelings like these are the...
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