Imperialism in Shooting an Elephant

Topics: Colonialism, British Empire, Burma Pages: 2 (680 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Imperialism in ‘Shooting an Elephant’ by
George Orwell

Shooting an elephant is a short story about the speaker’s experience in working as a colonial officer in Burma, a previous conquered province by Britain, and facing a pressure to shoot an innocent elephant to please a large Burmese crowd. Throughout the story Orwell makes clear to readers how Imperialism causes misery and pain. To a clear definition for Imperialism, I sum up the important points according to my understanding as the desire for more power and control over other countries in addition to the direct political and economic dominion causing destruction and corruption in the occupied country. The British interest was obvious in the story by getting superior jobs and working in the government. As a result, it is very important to mention that the empire had produced several conflicts to the narrator that emphasis the unjust of Imperialism; one with the British Empire and the other conflict with the Burmese because of their bad treatment “I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. 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 normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty” (Shooting an Elephant, 13). Imperialism humiliates native people, make them feel inferior in their own country and most importantly in this story it made the officer act against his belief “ I did not in the least want to shoot him”(Shooting an Elephant, 17). Orwell also shows how imperialism limits freedom not only for native people but the narrator’s freedom as well. He wanted the...
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