Why did the Burmese hate George Orwell in "Shooting an Elephant?"

The Burmese hate Orwell in "Shooting an Elephant" primarily because he's a member of the colonial police force. Orwell's presence is a reminder to the Burmese people of their continued oppression, which naturally causes them to feel great bitterness towards him. At the same time, they expect Orwell to do his job and deal with the runaway elephant.

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As a figure of colonial authority, decked out in his policeman's uniform, Orwell is naturally a figure of hate to the indigenous Burmese. He's a very visible reminder of the oppression to which they're subjected to on a daily basis. As soon as they see him, they cannot escape the fact that their country has become part of a European empire, one in which they have no right to determine their own future. Orwell's very presence is an affront to them; he has no right even to be in the country.

So the indigenous people hate Orwell. This isn't personal; none of them actually know him or anything about him. What they hate is what he represents, and what he represents is a system of colonial oppression. It wouldn't make a difference even if they knew of his moral qualms about the nature of colonial rule. As far as they're concerned, all that matters is that he's an emissary of imperialism, someone performing the duties that should be performed by the native Burmese.

Even though they hate Orwell,...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 919 words.)

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