I waited a long time for him to die, but his breathing did not weaken. This is to show the characteristics of the two genres that I will pick up again in the course of this paper. He was lying on his belly with arms crucified and head sharply twisted to one side. Their hatred keeps growing intense and even if they do not dare to riot, still they vent their frustration using subtler means to which British find it difficult to retaliate. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans. He was not an experienced hunter and did not know where to shoot the animal so aimed for its forehead where he thought its brain was.

That was the shot that did for him. Orwell draws a stark picture of the cruelties meted out to the local people by their oppressors. It is as though the elephant or the value of the elephant is more important to some than the fact that the elephant killed someone and may do so again. Although his intellectual sympathies lie with the Burmese, his official role makes him a symbol of the oppressive imperial power. Orwell considers himself to be above the Burmese who he is paid to control.

Shooting an Elephant / George Orwell

He later learns that it was stripped, nearly to the bone, within hours. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism — the real motives for which despotic governments act.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. To help the readers understand his dilemma he writes about how the violence had scarred Burmese history and is directing him towards self hatred.

He got away after that but came to learn later that it took the animal at least half an hour to die. Suddenly he heard some noise on one side where a woman was shooing away some kids. In fact he would treat them worse such is the little amount of value that he places on the lives of the Burmese people. It was quite likely that several of them hated him enough to kill him if they could dare to. When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick — one never does when a shot goes home — but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd.


Orwell’s Shooting an elephant: Summary, Analysis & Essay Questions

Despite a strong anti European feeling among the natives making him feel guilty and bitter, the author could not help feeling for the helpless local people who just did not have better means to express their anguish and disgust over imperial forces. In the text he writes about the terrible xn Burmese prisoners have to ogwells.

He was feeling like a puppet being controlled by the will of those around him and that made him realise he had to act as per the convention. S W Swantje We Author.

Shooting an Elephant – Wikipedia

However, Orwell was legally right since the animal had killed a person. It is your responsibility to check the applicable copyright laws in your country before downloading this work.

george orwells essay on his life in burma shooting an elephant

The author is free to choose his individual style and topic, whereas the reader should be able to read the whole text in one stroke. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He trumpeted, for the first and only time.

As a police officer I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so. The prisons especially presented rich evidence regarding the wrongdoings of the British. Title, Beginning and Ending 6. And my whole life, every white man’s life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at. Most experts, however, call the text an essay but there are also those who insist on the text belonging to the group of the short stories. I looked at the sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes-faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot.


The crowd sighed in relief and as he pulled the trigger it cheered. His burden is much different from that of his compatriots who gladly follow everything that is law. This quote reveals the narrator as an Englishman who sympathises with the native population and who despises their brutal oppression.

I had got to shoot the elephant. There is also a sense that just as the elephant has been conquered so too has Orwell been conquered by his environment.

So, Orwell fired the remaining shots where he thought its heart was. The essay ends at a comic note but it is difficult to avoid feeling the hidden sarcasm. Unknown whether fiction or non-fiction [1]. While he was growing bitter of imperialism, something happened that let him understand better why these despotic governments acted the way they did. One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening.

An essay is non-fictional prose. The crowd on his back had grown.

george orwells essay on his life in burma shooting an elephant

Their yellow faces were like eager for it and Orwell could hardly think of going against their wills.