Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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What did Orwell learn about himself and about imperialism through the incident in "Shooting an Elephant"?

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When Orwell relates his experience with the elephant in “Shooting an Elephant” it gives some insight into his own psyche as well as the structure of imperialism.

Perhaps the most intriguing situation that arises in the story is how the mob has more power over Orwell than he, their supposed military governor, has over them. In spite of knowing the elephant could be captured and tamed, the mob calls for its death, and the cries overcome Orwell, causing him to shoot and kill the beast. In this moment, he criticizes imperialism, showing that the leaders are controlled by the masses just as much as, if not more so than, the other way around.

The insight into Orwell’s own mind is similar. He reveals a weakness and malleability in this moment. It shows that Orwell can be swayed by the opinion of the others, and that he is not immune to this idea, even if he recognizes it.

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"Shooting an Elephant" contains George Orwell 's ruminations concerning an experience he had back when he was a police...

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