In "Shooting an Elephant," what are some examples of hyperbole in the story?

Asked on by gchhour

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is a very good question. To me, one of the key examples of hyperbole comes when Orwell is faced with killing the elephant. When he has located the "rogue" elephant who has caused so much trouble, Orwell goes to meet it, and we are told that:

...practically the whole population of the quarter flocked out of the houses and followed me.

Note how later on, when Orwell is describing how he felt like a "fool," marching off to meet this elephant, he describes the crowd as an "ever-growing army," highlighting the hyperbole and how to Orwell's mind he was being observed by an innumerable multitude of Burmese citizens. Note too how this increases the peer-pressure that Orwell felt and his final realisation that he had no choice but to kill the elephant. With an audience that big, he had no choice but to give the Burmese the show they desired.

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