Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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What is Orwell's argument in the essay "Shooting an Elephant"? How does he use the story of shooting the elephant to make that argument, and are you persuaded by him?

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Orwell argues, in this essay, that imperialism has a number of unintended effects. It does not, contrary to popular belief, position the white imperialist in the powerful role. In fact, it turns him into a "puppet," according to Orwell, a puppet of the people he supposedly rules or controls. He has, at best, only the appearance of power and superiority but is actually controlled by the expectations of the colonized. He says:

Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd—seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy....For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives," and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him. He wears a mask,...

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