UC Expo Period 4
5 March 2013
Student Dialogue: Shooting an Elephant
One of the biggest issues in governments is corruption. Corruption however, is an issue created by the individuals through how they choose to use their power, whether it is for the good of everyone or not. The struggle with doing what is right, and what people in power tell you to do, is one of the biggest elements in George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant.” The true story tells about George’s experiences policing during the British occupation of India with a rogue elephant and him killing it. Orwell uses detailed diction and imagery to paint the experience and use the image of the elephant as a symbol for the British Empire, and the need for the Barman citizens to remove their imperialistic oppressor. One way Orwell expresses the general opinion on imperialism is by showing his experiences. Throughout the essay he talks about how badly the villagers hate him. He uses examples of their anger and uses hyperboles to express just how much the system turned people against each other because of the situation. He would say how, “there were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans,” (Orwell). From the start, he claims that it is evil and he is fully against the oppressors, the British. Though he is a British officer himself at the time in Burma, he feels a certain hatred and guilt towards himself, his empire, and the “evil-spirited little beasts,” the Burma people. In the essay he writes not just about his personal experience with the elephant but how metaphorical the experience is to Imperialism and his views on the matter. Orwell’s feelings are the hostile feelings toward the British, Imperialism, and Britain's justification for their actions in taking over Burma. Even claiming that “the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better,” (Orwell). He uses all of these...