Shooting an Elephant Themes

“Shooting an Elephant” key themes:

  • In “Shooting an Elephant,” colonial law contrasts with the conscience of the narrator both in his killing of the elephant and his treatment of the Burmese.

  • The culture clash between the British colonizers and the Burmese is evident both in external events and the narrator’s divided sympathies.

  • A paradoxical use of disorder is necessary in order to quell rebellion and maintain order.

  • The behaviors of the characters are governed by prejudice, while they tolerate their imposed roles as they bide their time.


The narrator’s mental division points to conscience as one of the underlying themes of ‘‘Shooting an...

(The entire section is 890 words.)