Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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What is George Orwell's view on imperialism as revealed in the essay "Shooting an Elephant?"

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George Orwell’s essay “Shooting an Elephant” was written in 1936. He was working at the time for the Police force (*imperial Indian police). The elements that he presents in the story include the resentment and tension that he feels regarding the way this department had supremacy over the rest of the Indian natives and exploited, abused, and mistreated the citizens. In turn he, as a non-native, was also resented not only because he was part of this huge, abusive apparatus, but because he was a European.

The elephant in question was a real animal that was causing havoc in a village. As a white officer, he was supposed to take charge of the situation and was pressed to shoot it. He did it, grudgingly and against his moral nature, and killed it. The problem with this was that he realized that no matter  his position or status, he was in no way in control of himself and was coerced into committing an act that goes completely against his nature: The same happens with the imperialists bullying colonists into doing as they say. He was no different: He succumbed his external weaknesses and forfeited his inner strengths over the opression of the majority, and he acted just like the Imperialists he hated so much.


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