THIS (BELOW) IS THE FINAL COPY OF THE ESSAY, MAKE AN ESSAY THAT WOULD FIT AS A DRAFT, BECAUSE TEACHER SUSPECTED THAT IT WAS NOT MY WORK BUT IT WAS FROM CUSTOM WRITING- MAKE IT SUPER DRAFT- WITH MANY GRAMATICAL ERROR. MAKE IT LESS PERFECT!!
George Orwell’s essay, “Shooting an Elephant,” reveals many aspects about human nature. In this essay, Orwell explores the theme of an inner struggle with doing the right things as opposed to doing what looks good. Here we see how it is not always easy to follows one’s heart when one works for the British Empire
as a police officer. The struggle to look good comes at him from the desire to look good among the Burmese and his own peers. Symbolism is an important tool in the essay in that Orwell allows the narrator and the elephant to become powerful symbols that force us to think about circumstances. Irony also comes into play in this essay because with all of the struggle that the narrator experiences, he is still a puppet not only for the Burmese but his peers as he behaves completely opposite from how he would without the constraints of social pressure. Orwell proves his point that life is never as easy as it seems with the theme of inner struggle represented through symbolism and irony.
The inner struggle of man becomes a powerful theme in the story as the narrator must deal with his duty and his moral code. His being in Burma is that he is a hated man- hated “by large numbers of people” (694). He explains that this hatred stems from his chosen professions. He is a sub-divisional police officer in a foreign land and his job requires him to maintain a certain level of respectability from the natives. To make matters worse for him, he is an “obvious target” (694) for sneers and gestures because he represents a strong European influence that is not necessarily welcome. These aspects of the job upset the narrator to the point that he decides that “imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better” (694). He admits that inwardly, he was for the Burmese and “all against their oppressors (694). He also confesses that he is “stuck between my hatred of the empire
I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible” (694). In addition, his reputation is on the line with the Burmese, which also affects his decision-making. This is reinforced with the elephant because the narrator knows that he should not kill the elephant. However, as the gathering crowd watches and waits for him to do something in retaliation, the narrator realizes that in order not to be laughed at, he must kill the elephant. A white man “mustn’t be frightened in front of ‘natives’” (697), he notes. The narrator knows that he has done the “right thing” (699) legally but he knows otherwise as he admits that he did it “solely to avoid looking like a fool” (699). These instances illustrate how the narrator is constantly struggling with himself. His moral code knows without a doubt that the European influence in Burma is crippling the community but his job prevents him from saying or doing anything to express his true feelings. This struggle with self is reinforced with the shooting of the elephant, which the narrator knows is clearly wrong but feels compelled to do because of the responsibility of his job and the desire to look good among everyone, including his peers.
Symbolism emerges in the essay in many forms. The narrator himself becomes a symbol of the Burmese people because he is placed in a situation in which he bitterly hates. The Burmese hate him just as he hates those in authority over him. He is also a symbol of British
rule itself. He represents the very thing that is oppressing the people and they resent him for it. The Burmese sneer and hoot at him and even the Buddhist priests jeer at the Europeans. The narrator can witnesses the “dirty work of the empire
at close quarters” (694) and he despises it but, at the same, he is that empire
on the streets of Burma.
The elephant is a symbol as well. It represents the Burmese society that is crumbling under the oppression of the British
rule. It also symbolizes humanity in that no one should suffer under the oppression of others and a long and painful death is the result of such oppression. The elephant’s death is also a symbol for the slow death of Burma. Before the arrival of the empire
, Burma was free but now it struggles for its last dying breaths under British
rule. The implication is clear in that the narrator does not attempt to disguise his feelings toward the monarchy in any way. The British
crown is stifling and killing those that it oppresses and it wounds her officers by making them partake in activities that force them to go against their innate will. The elephant, the most powerful symbol of all, eventually dies but it is not without agony nor is it guilty of anything but being what it is. Those under British
rule are behaving as they are and are being what they were born to be but the power of the empire
is forcing them to bend and behave in ways that are essentially unnatural.
Orwell also employs irony in the essay to prove salient points. For example, his inner struggle surfaces in part because of how he is perceived by the Burmese. As a result, the narrator acts and behaves certain ways to keep their sneers and jeers at bay. In this way, the white man has actually become a puppet of the natives because he is afraid to appear certain ways before them. They expect him to kill the elephant so he does. For a man that refers the Burmese as evil-spirited beasts, he certainly does care about what they think enough to go against his own moral judgment. He knows that legally, he was right but he knew with the crowd of Burmese “growing every minute’ (697), he knew he had no choice in the matter even if the elephant had returned to its docile state. It is ironic that the right thing to do becomes the impossible thing to do. The narrator is fully aware of how he is behaving and even admits that he is an “absurd puppet” (697) and he “wears a mask” (697). In a moment of realization, he states, “ I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys” (697). Similarly, he also knows that his friends will have something to say about his behavior. At the end of the essay, the narrator states that his older friends agreed with his decision to shoot the animal but the younger men commented that it was a “damn shame” (699). Here we see that the narrator was in a situation in that no matter what he did, he would receive criticism. This only emphasizes the irony that killing the animal does nothing for no one except help the narrator maintain his status as an official that must do his duty.
“Shooting an Elephant,” explores the nature of man from several different perspectives. The narrator’s perspective is the most poignant because he is forced to realize many things about himself and others by killing the elephant. The theme of an individual’s struggle to do the right thing becomes the primary theme of the essay. The danger of imperialism emerges through the narrator’s circumstances. He finds that he cannot act according to his inclinations because of his profession and how others would perceive him. He is a symbol just like the Burmese are symbols of the oppression of the British
. The elephant is a symbol of what happens to those under such oppression. The irony exists when the narrator finds that he is forced to behave a certain way by those that he is supposedly above. He is expected to keep things in order but that comes at the cost of his own beliefs. While he is perceived as the oppressor, he is actually nothing more than a puppet for those around him. He is no more free than the Burmese. It is through these circumstances that Orwell demonstrates how difficult it is to simply be human and follow one’s heart at times. Work, peer pressure, and outside pressure become powerful factors that often force us to act in ways we would rather not.
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