In "Shooting an Elephant," which sentence pattern types does Orwell use?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. The essay possesses many sentences with subordinate clauses: In the first sentence, Orwell confesses to being hated by "large numbers of people" in Burma. The subordinate clause ("that I have been important enough for this to happen to me") follows the phrase "the only time in my life." Orwell uses subordination such as this throughout his essay to demonstrate his own submission to the will of the British Empire at the time and his feeling of inferiority in Burma. He realizes that because he is part of the oppressive regime he does not have a solution for helping the Burmese; he feels incapable of winning their approval.

2. Orwell also relies heavily on appositives or nonessential clauses set off by dashes. For example, in Paragraph 11, he writes:

"When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bank or feel the kick--one never does when a shot goes home--but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd."

Orwell's use of these added phrases demonstrate a stream-of-consciousness style and also serve to illustrate his personal feelings and bias at the time of the shooting.

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Shooting an Elephant

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