Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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What is the purpose of the short story "Shooting an Elephant"?

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The primary purpose of Orwell's short story "Shooting an Elephant" is to illustrate the oppressive influence that imperialist regimes have on the agents who represent and uphold the image of their impenetrable empire. In the short story, a self-conscious British police officer stationed in Lower Burma is sent out to investigate a situation involving a runaway elephant. The British officer has no intention of shooting the majestic beast but is followed by a massive crowd of Burmese natives, who are anxious to see him kill the elephant. When the police officer finds the elephant calmly grazing, he experiences overwhelming pressure from the crowd to shoot the animal against his will. As the officer raises his gun, he experiences an epiphany and 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...

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