Orwell's Relationship with the Burmese in “Shooting an Elephant”
The relationship between Orwell and the Burmese in George Orwell's “Shooting an Elephant,” is a complex relationship filled with hatred. Regardless of Orwell's personal morals and beliefs on imperialism, he still upholds the duties of his job and has desire to show he is not in any shape or form inferior to any Burman, while the Burmese show nothing but ridicule and loathe for Orwell. This relationship shared between Orwell and the Burmese is a direct result of imperialism, showing both the fight and the ignorance of the captors and the captives.
Orwell sympathizes with the situation that has developed in Burma, but he also finds the Burmese people to be “evil spirited little beasts” (282) who made his job unbearable. Being a police officer in Burma, and employed by the British Empire, it is a strenuous task for Orwell: a job he describes that he “hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear” (281). He encounters hostility towards him and is constantly“being baited whenever it seemed safe to do so” (281) and ridiculed by the Burmese. The Burmese respond to Orwell in this negative way solely because he is affiliated with the British Empire – though Orwell describes he “was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors” (281). The Burmese do not look past his uniform and go as far as to laugh at the expense of Orwell, yet they find themselves crowding behind him when he confronts an elephant with a rifle in hand. The Burmese view it as a form of entertainment, Orwell describing them as “happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot” (284), changing their aggressiveness towards Orwell. As he reflected that “they did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching” (284), he then finds himself in a difficult situation and assesses the confrontation of the elephant, approaching it so he doesn't get...
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