top-rated free essay

Rhetorical Analysis of Shooting an Elephant

By TontoTheGreat Oct 24, 2008 796 Words
Rhetorical Analysis of “Shooting an Elephant”

Orwell succeeds greatly in telling one of his remarkable experiences in Burma. While working for the British Empire as a police officer in Burma, he comes across a elephant gone mad that in his judgment he shouldn’t shoot because the handler was on his way and there was no need to kill the expensive piece of property anymore. But in the end he felt that he needed to do a service for the mob of people that had congregated. Orwell wrote this essay 10 or so years after the events that took place in the essay. The British Empire at the time of writing was going through major changes and its imperial power was declining. So he was telling his incredible story as a way of informing the British citizens at the time of exposing the injustices and dark side of imperialism that he felt he had to right. The whole world when he was writing this essay was enduring a economic depression and were facing another possible world war. So it was a dark time not only for the British empire but the whole world.

Orwell audience obviously would be very word choice by his unique dilemma. Writing for it for the average Englishman, Orwell hopes to change their ignorant attitudes of the smaller, poorer colonies. The audience would likely also have more confidence and faith in Orwell because of his brutally honest admissions. He assumed that Moulmein, Burma and the other problems with imperialism was mostly unheard of to the average patriotic Englishman. In his essay he represents himself as a man who is not only young and naïve but also torn between the Empire he serves and the people that it oppresses. He gains additional credibility by revealing feelings and views that most writers would probably never even consider putting to paper.

The medium he used was print which was the most effective way of getting your word across the whole word at the time. It was written as a narrative essay. The main idea proposed was that one man can be a ambassador for a larger group, and that such a man does can make a difference to a whole nation by doing the right thing in the people’s eyes, even if it seems so small. He supports this by explaining the large mob that gathered and were expecting and hoping that he would kill the elephant, which in their eyes was the right thing to do.

The essay is organized like a short story, with a rising action, conflict and a turning point in essay. At the beginning, rising action. Orwell explains how he is conflicted between his hate for the dark, evil side of imperialism and his hate for the way the Burmese had treated him as an Englishman. Later the turning point and conflict comes in when Orwell decides that he must kill the elephant. He appeals to reason by explaining the political context of the dilemma of whether to kill the elephant. The style is informal. For example, Orwell uses slang and writes from the first-person point of view. Orwell decided to write this essay 10 years after the events, meaning that he had experience and wisdom about the events that took place. He thought there was a need for this essay at the time of print. Orwell uses many different metaphors like “leading actor,” “an absurd puppet,” “he wears a mask,” “conjurer about to perform a trick.” Orwell decided to write this essay 10 years after the events, meaning that he had experience and wisdom about the events that took place. He thought there was a need for this essay at the time of print. Also comparing the Empire to a “posing dummy.” Orwell is the leading actor in the play for the Burmese playing the British Empire. He is also an absurd puppet in the situation, and the crowd is the puppet master. When Orwell talks about being a colonial officer that’s “wearing a mask”. Its because as an officer of the empire he is not his own and must fit the part so he can impress the natives. All this talk about the theatre and a supposed play, is because he’s using symbolism to show the global stage that The Empire is acting for. Irony was employed when talking about the natives being the only sole worry of his being that they would see him chased by the elephant then killed. Then all the natives would be reduced to laughter. The style he uses which is narrative first person relates to the purpose of changing the average Englishman’s attitudes of imperialism by hearing the tyranny first hand from a man that has seen the dark side of it.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Rhetorical Analysis of Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant"

    ...While reading the essay Shooting an Elephant, first published in 1936 by Eric Blair under the pen name of George Orwell, one gets captivated by the intricate web of rhetoric that Blair weaves throughout the piece. Surely, the reason this essay keeps the attention of the reader so well is because Blair writes with an unmistakably strong exigency...

    Read More
  • Shooting an Elephant Literary Analysis

    ...Inevitable Morals George Orwell’s 1930 short story “Shooting an Elephant,” demonstrates the total dangers of the unlimited authority a state has and the astounding presentment of “future dystopia”. In the story, Orwell finds himself to be in an intricate situation that involves an elephant. Not only does the fate of the elephant’s l...

    Read More
  • Analysis of George Orwell's 'Shooting an Elephant'

    ...Technique Analysis of ‘Shooting an elephant’ Written by George Orwell Essay by Arthur Diennet In 1936, George Orwell published his short story ‘Shooting an elephant’ in an English magazine. Since then, it has been republished dozens of times and holds a place as a definitive anti-colonial piece of literature, in an era where the B...

    Read More
  • Shooting an Elephant

    ...November 20, 2012 Shooting an Elephant In society, we are sometimes obligated to make a decision on the spot, without looking back or looking at any options around us. It may mean you have to make a decision for a big group or have to make a decision for yourself; in this case, both of those options weren’t good ones for the man who ki...

    Read More
  • Shooting an Elephant

    ...In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, Orwell is presented with a task that causes him a great deal of stress as he battles with his internal conflict throughout the story. Orwell has mixed feelings after he kills the elephant. He feels wrong for killing the elephant because he feels that there could have been a more peaceful solutio...

    Read More
  • Rhetorical Analysis

    ...Rhetorical Analysis Abraham Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address” and Emily Dickinson’s “Success is Counted Sweet,” are two inspirational pieces of art that fall under two different types of discourses. The “Second Inaugural Address,” is a great example and definition of what Rhetoric is. It encompasses all four resources of l...

    Read More
  • shooting an elephant

    ...the Burmese like him, which puts him in a very difficult position. In “Shooting an Elephant” Orwell faces a life-changing event of choosing between a good reputation or shooting an innocent animal and going against his morals. Orwell has a hard time adjusting in Burma due to the fact that Imperialism is something the Burmese did not like....

    Read More
  • Shooting an Elephant

    ...Tenney Project 2b "Shooting an elephant" The main purpose of George Orwell’s story “shooting an elephant” is not to show how or explain how to actually kill an elephant; his work demonstrates how people will react to a imperialistic situation, will they follow the crowd or will they hold their own beliefs and not let others change them....

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.