Shooting an Elephant Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Shooting an Elephant book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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.

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write10,766 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

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...

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

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jay Gilbert, Ph.D. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Lecturer

bookB.A. from University of Oxford

bookM.A. from University of Oxford

bookPh.D. from University of Leicester


calendarEducator since 2017

write2,267 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Olen Bruce eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write4,280 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,820 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial