Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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Explain this quote from "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell: "In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when i was at a safe distance,...

Explain this quote from "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell: "In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when i was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves."

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The setting of "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell tells us a lot about how the narrator (Orwell as a young man) must feel in this environment. Orwell is a British citizen and part of the Imperial Police in Burma, India. This automatically puts him in a situation where the people he is supposed to protect and serve; most of the Indian people see him, because of his position and his "Britishness," as an oppressor. Emotions are hot and angry against any Europeans, whatever their position or rank. It is an awful circumstance for Orwell, as he states in the first line of the essay:

I was hated by large numbers of people.

The quote you reference is in the first paragraph of the essay. In context, it sets the stage for everything that follows. Orwell gives one simple example of how he is treated, despite the fact that he has the perfect right to be oppressive and subdue the Burmese people by force if necessary (but...

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