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Shooting an Elephant

by George Orwell

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Discuss 'anti-European feeling' in Shooting an Elephant?  

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George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant talks about how imperialism and colonialism negatively affected both the oppressed and the oppressors, albeit in different ways. In the first few lines of the story, the narrator acknowledges the fact that that the British rule over the Burmese people had made them bear deep and strong anti-European sentiments. The narrator is also aware that the local people of Burma hate him, and this makes him sad and uncomfortable.

… in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter.

The narrator works as a police officer in Moulmein, Lower Burma during the time of British colonisation. Not only the Burmese people but the narrator too is against the British laws and policies in Burma. Throughout the story, he expresses how burdened he feels to be a part of the system that oppresses and subjugates the local people. He finds all of it "perplexing and upsetting". Through the narrator’s ambivalence in the British governance, his feeling of a deep sense of guilt doing his duties as well as his taking side of the Burmese people, Orwell shows how the anti-European feeling attacked not only those who were oppressed by the system but also those at the other side of the equation.

I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically—and secretly, of course—I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British

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