I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A Life , Bernard Crick cast doubt on the idea that Orwell himself actually shot an elephant. Readers do not hear any other voice or come across any dialogues which is to retain the focus on the central theme. The Burmese monks were an even bigger problem, irritating him the most. However, he continued to publish several literary pieces that showed his strong disgust against the imperial evil in Asia. Princeton University Press, , pp.

The narrator’s situation throughout the essay is one of little prospect or prominence. But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behind. Symbolically the elephant may also be important as he is valued by others and as such there is an uproar among some of the Burmese that a good working animal has been killed. He thought he would have to kill the elephant because these people were interested in seeing the elephant getting killed. This happened more than once. To help the readers understand his dilemma he writes about how the violence had scarred Burmese history and is directing him towards self hatred. With the second shot he tried to get back on his feet and the third shot brought him down but he seemed to be struggling to remain on his feet till at last he fell.

The narrator’s situation throughout the essay is one of little prospect or prominence. Some of the hatred appears undeserved to him and it is why he is angry at those monks. The stubbornness with which these Buddhist monks could tease him made him feel the most helpless.

Shooting an Elephant – Wikipedia

Watching those inmates inside locked and stinky cages sitting with cowed faces and scarred buttocks of those bogged with bamboos filled the author with an intolerable sense of guilt. People were pointing in different directions and Orwell had started thinking it was all lie.


Although it is not the narrator’s wish to shoot the elephant, and even though he holds a weapon far beyond the technological capabilities of the natives, his will is not his own and, due to their expectation, he realises that he must shoot the elephant; “I was orwflls an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. Publish now – it’s free.

Shooting an Elephant

Seminar Paper, 14 Pages, Grade: To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away, having done nothing — no, that was impossible. The rifle was a beautiful German thing with cross-hair sights.

The Burmese monks were an even bigger problem, irritating him the most. What made the hatred against him even bitter was his position of a police officer. Cover of first anthology publication. The essay deals with the hatred that Europeans had earned for themselves while trying to rule the natives by force.

Because the locals expect him to do the job, he does so against his better judgment, his anguish increased by the elephant’s slow and painful death.

Orwell appears to be looking for acceptance yet at the same time he dislikes the very people the Burmese that he is seeking acceptance from.

Even Orwell himself started feeling a dislike for the British Raj which had turned Burma into a hell. 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.

What followed was both tragic and comic; childish and serious. His burden is much different from that of his compatriots who gladly follow everything that is law.


It was an ordinary morning till he received a call from another sub inspector downtown that an elephant had gone out of control and he must do something because it was ravaging the town.

george orwells essay on his life in burma shooting an elephant

Rather than talking of Burma or imperialism, it is about his personal feelings on both and how they affect him. Orwell draws a stark picture of the cruelties meted out to the local people by their oppressors. And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all.

george orwells essay on his life in burma shooting an elephant

In these essays he reveals that part of his personality which feels deeply for humanity. His body did not even jerk when the shots hit him, the tortured breathing continued without a pause. He may be suggesting that for some the elephant is more important than the life of a human being.

It is characterised by its shortness and the unity of time, setting and plot. He was breathing very rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great mound of a side painfully rising and falling.

george orwells essay on his life in burma shooting an elephant

Some more women followed, clicking their tongues and exclaiming; evidently there was something that the children ought not to have seen. Leave a Comment Cancel gurma You must be logged in to post a comment. The narrator is a British police officer who notices a strong anti-European feeling among the natives. I had got to shoot the elephant. He comments on how, even though he is of the ruling class, he finds himself either largely ignored by the Burmese people or hated.

The Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it.

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