What are Orwell's feelings towards his experiences with imperialism in "Shooting an Elephant"?

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merehughes eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Orwell was making a commentary on the evils of Imperialism. Orwell himself comments on his role in the system of imperialism, "all I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served ... I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind."

Shooting an Elephant sets up a situation where the narrator is forced to do something against his moral will but yet as a representative of the British he must do this. In effect the narrator realizes that upholding Imperialism is not only taking away the freedom of the people the system oppresses (in the story the Burmanese) but it is also injuring the narrator. His freedom is also being sacrificed at the hands of the system. Therefore Orwell is commenting that the system of Imperialism is evil not only to the people who are being put under its rule but ultimately it is also evil to the Imperialists themselves.

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Shooting an Elephant

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