Shooting An Elephant

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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"Shooting an Elephant" is a short story that consist of connotative language, sensory details, but most importantly it is written in a dominant impression--a reaction/impression set by George Orwell towards his readers. In reading the first paragraph of this story, three words came to the top of my mind that would describe the author--isolated, vulnerable, self-conscious. George Orwell, through his first paragraph, seems isolated as he belonged to the minority European authority among the Burmese. Being a police officer gave him the feeling of an "obvious target" which can translate into his vulnerability as well as self-conscious character. The vulnerability characteristic became clear when Orwell mentioned his bad experience in the soccer field. Orwell--a white man--was vulnerable as the player who tripped him along was not called for a foul as the referee and the rest of the Burma crowd was all hideously laughing at the incident. Orwell's mentioning that he is an obvious target and the idea that he was bait gave me the impression that he was self-conscious of his actions.

After reading the entire essay, the author's character expands in greater detail from the first paragraph of the essay. There is clearly more evidence that Orwell is indeed vulnerable, isolated and also intimidated by the Burmese. The author is a weak character as the Burma society-- although weak in power and in terms of weapons, they have much more people, which produces an environment of intimidation. Orwell is influenced, due to the intimidation of the Burmese people and his vulnerability, to shoot the elephant--although he explains, "As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him."� Also, Orwell talks about his personal feelings of being "stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my...