Shooting an Elephant

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Shooting an Elephant

By | October 2007
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DISCUSS ORWELL'S USE OF PERSUASIVE TOOLS SUCH AS, SYMBOLISM, METAPHORS AND IRONY IN THIS ESSAY AND EXPLAIN HOW HE USES EACH OF THESE TO CONVEY HIS ARGUMENT OR MESSAGE

In the extract, "Shooting An Elephant" Orwell conveys his message through the use of various persuasive tools. He wants the reader to identify when somebody assumes power. This technique is used to show that the powerful are also a captive to the will of people they control. Everyone involved in the situation becomes affected. In this instance, imperialism has a negative affect on them all. The various persuasive tools identified are, symbolism, metaphors and irony throughout the extract.

Through the use of symbols, Orwell conveys his message powerfully. The elephant symbolizes freedom and the victims of imperialism. Orwell continuously repeats his decision not to kill the elephant. In the beginning he had "no intention of shooting the elephant." When he sees the elephant he says, "I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. I decided that would watch him for a little while to make sure that he did not turn savage again, and then go home", which shows hesitation. At the end he expresses "Suddenly, I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all." The usage of ''after all'' gives a sense of him not having any choice in the matter. The fact that Orwell actually shoots the elephant gives the reader an uncomfortable feeling as up to that moment the reader is led to think that the officer is not going to shoot the elephant.

The British officer, who is the author of the extract acts as a symbol of the imperial country. Orwell is presented in the story as a round and dynamic character with mixed feelings of sympathy and anger towards the Burmese. When he said he was "all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors" and that "the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts".

On the other hand the Burmese represent the...

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