Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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How was Orwell treated by the local Burmese?

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The narrator of Orwell's classic short story "Shooting an Elephant" is a British police officer stationed in Lower Burma, where he is ridiculed, mocked, and jeered at by the local Burmese civilians. As an agent of the oppressive colonial regime, the officer is hated by the locals, who resent the presence of the British and the discrimination and abuse they suffer at the hands of the ruling colonial government. The British officer mentions that the predominant atmosphere of Lower Burma was anti-European and recognizes himself as a prime target for the disgruntled Burmese natives. The narrator says that the locals would go out of their way to trip, mock, and annoy him every chance they had.

The Burmese natives would also jeer, ridicule, and yell insults at him when they were a safe distance away. The British officer also comments that the Buddhist priests were the "worst of all" and he would often fantasize about fatally stabbing them with his bayonet. Although the British officer cannot stand being treated with contempt and derision by the Burmese natives, he sympathizes with their plight and supports their independence. The officer states,

—I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. (Orwell, 2)

The narrator is in a difficult, perplexing situation, where he supports the Burmese against the British but cannot stand how they treat him. The British officer attempts to explain his unique circumstance by saying,

All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. (Orwell, 2)

Overall, the British officer hates the way he is treated by the local Burmese natives, who make his life miserable and extremely difficult.

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