Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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What is Orwell saying about Colonialism in "On Shooting an Elephant"?

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"Shooting an Elephant" shows the corrupting effects that colonialism can have on people, even those who are part of the system. The narrator of the story is profoundly uneasy at having to carry out his duty as a colonial police officer in Burma. He doesn't want to shoot the rampaging elephant; he knows that it's a valuable commodity in the colonial economy—but he also knows that the natives are watching, and any sign of weakness or lack of resolve on his part will undermine the authority of both himself and his superiors.

This is what colonialism does to people, Orwell is arguing. The colonial policeman has been corrupted in that he's forced to do something he doesn't really want to do and which he knows just isn't right. The Burmese, for their part, as well as being exploited and kept in a state of subjection by their colonial overlords, have also been corrupted. Although they resent the representative of colonial law and order in their midst, they nonetheless expect him to assert his...

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