In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people--the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter.
Context[ edit ] Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years —during which three Anglo-Burmese wars took place, and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. It was administered as a province of India untilwhen it became a separate, self-governing colony, attaining its independence on January 4, With a strong interest in the lives of the working class, Orwell—born in India to a middle-class family, but brought up in Britain—held the post of assistant superintendent in the British Indian Imperial Police in Burma from to The Kipling -inspired romance of the Raj had been worn thin by the daily realities of his job in which, As a member of the ruling power, he is cornered into doing what the "natives" expect of him: In Moulmein, the narrator—Orwell, writing in the first person—is a police officer during a period of intense anti-European sentiment.
Although his intellectual sympathies lie with the Burmese, his official role makes him a symbol of the oppressive imperial power. As such, he is subjected to constant baiting and jeering by the local people.
Entering one of the poorest quarters, he receives conflicting reports and contemplates leaving, thinking the incident is a hoax. The narrator then sees a village woman chasing away children who are looking at the corpse of an Indian whom the elephant has trampled and killed.
He sends an order to bring an elephant rifle and, followed by a group of roughly a few thousand people, heads toward the paddy field where the elephant has rested in its tracks.
Although he does not want to kill the elephant now that it seems peaceful, the narrator feels pressured by the demand of the crowd for the act to be carried out. The narrator then leaves the beast, unable to be in its presence as it continues to suffer.
He later learns that it was stripped, nearly to the bone, within hours. His elderly colleagues agree that killing the elephant was the best thing to do, but the younger ones believe that it was worth more than the Indian it killed.
The narrator then wonders if they will ever understand that he did it "solely to avoid looking a fool. I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As ruler, he notes that it is his duty to appear resolute, with his word being final. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.
He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives," and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him.
He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it. I had got to shoot the elephant. I had committed myself to doing it when I sent for the rifle. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things.
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 crowd would laugh at me. He comments on how, even though he is of the ruling class, he finds himself either largely ignored by the Burmese people or hated. He remarks in the first sentence, "I was hated by large numbers of people—the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.
In contrast to his description of the natives as "little beasts", the narrator labels the elephant as a "great beast", suggesting he holds it in higher esteem than the locals.
Having killed the elephant, the narrator considers how he was glad it killed the " coolie " as that gave him full legal backing. The essay finishes with him wondering if they will even understand his motive for having killed the elephant as he merely wished to salvage his pride.
In his biography of Orwell, George Orwell: A Life, Bernard Crick cast doubt on the idea that Orwell himself actually shot an elephant. It was not long after the incident that he was transferred from Moulmein to a quiet post in Upper Burma called Katha.
Kenny shooting an elephant in similar circumstances.elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it. Among the Europeans opinion was divided.
The older men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a coolie, because an elephant was worth more than any damn Coringhee coolie. Shooting an Elephant study guide contains a biography of George Orwell, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell In his essay Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell explains how the controlling authorities in a hostile country are not controlling the country's population but are in fact a mere tool of the populous.
English Composition 1 Sample ENG Essay on Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" "The Price of Pride," written by Dennis Crask when he was a student in ENG , is an excellent essay on George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant.". discuss orwell's use of persuasive tools such as, symbolism, metaphors and irony in this essay and explain how he uses each of these to convey his argument or message.
"Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell is an essay first published in in a literary magazine called New Writing. Orwell, an English author, had been employed in Indian Imperial Police, part.