Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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Why do you think Orwell's voice as narrative is the only one readers hear? Is the absence of a dialogue a strength or weakness in "Shooting an Elephant"?

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Orwell's essay, "Shooting an Elephant," is intended to represent the point of view of one person. It is arguable as to how far it is truly autobiographical, but the point Orwell is making relies upon the fact that we cannot know the experiences of other people, particularly if we have never ventured into the far-flung parts of the Empire. Orwell does not presume to speak for the oppressed Burmese people he witnessed when serving as a policeman in the country. In the same way, he is attempting to dissuade people at home from presuming they understand what it is like to feel like a "puppet" of an Empire which is thought so successful by people at home.

Orwell could have included a dialogue in the piece, but part of the strength of his writing is in conveying how isolated his speaker feels. The speaker does not feel able to engage in a dialogue with the Burmese people; he feels alienated, disempowered rather than powerful.

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Arguably, Orwell chose to only include his own voice because he...

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