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One of the most insightful ways to approach this story is as an allegory about the relationship between the European colonization of third-world countries such as India and the native ways of doing things. The military figure, faced with the need to act in an authoritarian manner before the native public, uses his weapon to kill the elephant, rather than let a more passive guided way to solve the problem. The detailed description of the death of the peasant signifies the damage done by the colonialists as they disrupted the natural balance between Nature and Mankind or between the native ways and their taming of their habitat. Orwell was very interested in the allegorical function of story-telling.
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