What is an example of a close reading for Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell
A close reading of a text closely examines the word choices and literary devices used by an author. I will pick a passage of "Shooting an Elephant" and get you started on a close reading of it. Please note too what close reading is not--it looks only at the words on the page and does not bring in biographical material about the author.
In the following passage, Orwell is trying to convey some of the conflicted feelings experienced by a young imperial police officer in the British colony of Burma. We will look at some of the techniques Orwell uses to make his point:
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. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a...
(The entire section contains 647 words.)
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