George Orwell

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In the essay "Shooting an Elephant," how does George Orwell feel about imperialism? What would be a good thesis?

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To say simply that Orwell rejects imperialism in this essay would be to disregard its many nuances, although Orwell is clear that when serving as a policeman in Burma he felt the British regime to be "evil." There are many more interesting theses you could derive from this essay than the rather obvious "Orwell feels that imperialism causes distress to native peoples, oppresses them, and keeps them in lives of poverty." We might point, for example, to the early indication that Orwell believes imperialism to be almost inevitable in one form or another. As a young man, he says, he knew that the British empire was a terrible thing but not that it was in fact much better than "the younger empires that would supplant it." What is Orwell suggesting here? He is suggesting that imperialism of an institutional sort has gone on for many years. According to Orwell, the British empire is potentially a lesser evil than a new ambitious imperialistic leader or regime unused to ruling status. 

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