George Orwell Shooting An Elephant Essay Imperialism Study Mode

There is only one thing Orwell can do. He loads the gun, lies on the road, and takes aim at the elephant. The crowd sighs in anticipation. Orwell aims at the elephant’s head—too far forward to hit the brain, he thinks—and fires. The crowd roars in excitement, and the elephant appears suddenly weakened. After a bit of time, the elephant sinks to its knees and begins to drool. Orwell fires again, and the elephant does not fall—instead, it wobbles back onto its feet. A third shot downs the elephant. As it tumbles to the ground, however, it trumpets and appears to grow even larger, and its fall shakes the earth on which Orwell lies.

The description of the elephant’s physical distress is excruciating, and Orwell clearly intends to emphasize the barbarity of his decision and actions. It is particularly notable that the elephant appears to be at its most magnificent just as it falls. This illustrates that at the elephant’s moment of bodily defeat, it only becomes a more powerful symbol of the irrational savagery of colonialism.

Shooting an Elephant text

Persuasion is an inescapable fact of communication. Whether it be a poster for a new movie or handling social pressures to conform, persuasion is one of the most prevalent styles of rhetorical dialogue. While persuasion is most commonly associated with in-your-face advertisements and political speeches, more subtle rhetorical artifacts, such as novels and essays, can contain equally persuasive elements. The essay Shooting an Elephant by George Orwellis an example of a persuasive rhetorical piece.

Orwell’s 1936 publication Shooting an Elephant is an autobiographical account of Orwell’s experiences as a British police officer in Burma during a period of British imperialism. Though Orwell has personal sympathy for the Burmese, the Burmese do not respect his position or legitimize his authority. The divide between Orwell’s feelings towards imperialism and his strained relationship with the Burmese people illuminates the message of the story: Imperialism is an institution that destroys both the oppressor and the oppressed.

HOW IT IS CONVEYED-follow chronology, include instances of p/l, explain how it results in message

It is not surprising that Orwell wrote this politically charged essay at the time he did. After all, Orwell was an open critic of imperialism during the early 20th Century. His first-hand encounters with the evils of imperialism during his time as a police officer in Burma make him a reputable source of knowledge about the conditions and reality of the British oppression of Burma. The use of ethos by the initial establishment of authority through Orwell’s experiences sets the tone for a compelling argument throughout the essay.

-Orwell’s unhappy job situation, working for something that he does’t believe in (pathos-sympathy) results in disharmony among British officers and country.

-Is it worth is to kill the elephant to please townspeople? Is killing the elephant justifiable?(logos-logical weighing of consequences) results in rash decisions.

-The elephant dies painfully (pathos) results in uncomfortable situation for oppressor and is not good for oppressed (elephant owner).


Shooting an Elephant is intended to make the reader feel unsettled. Orwell purposefully recounts his negative experiences in Burma to reinforce his view that imperialism is harmful on both ends. The miserable attitude of the author, the strained tensions between the British and the Burmese, and the needless suffering of the elephant all serve to create the impression that imperialism is a destructive system. In terms of the effectiveness of Orwell’s argument, it seems that his purpose for writing Shooting an Elephant closely matches the message conveyed to the reader. Because of this, Shooting an Elephant can be considered an effective piece of writing.

Though it is important to consider the effectiveness of writing on an individual basis, it is perhaps more important to examine the impact of rhetoric on a societal level. Historically speaking, Shooting an Elephant

Relate back to persuasion and effectiveness of rhetorical piece.

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