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Orwell's 's - Essay Example

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George Orwell’s story “Shooting an Elephant” is a potent illustration of the problematic relationship between the colonists and the colonized and the psychological battles that the defenders of the empire had to endure in the discharge of their duties. As a young officer…
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Orwells Essays
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Download file to see previous pages The narrator’s difficult condition stems from his divided world, which, on the one hand identifies him and his work with the oppressor, while on the other hand portrays him as a man of conscience. Additionally, he is bogged down with guilt and a feeling of helplessness against the hard realities, “cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been Bogged with bamboos – all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt,” (Orwell a).
The result of this mental division is brought out more clearly in his remorse for the brutality meted out by the natives and his desire to kill the monks who torment him occasionally in their jeers. For him, the hard decision he makes about killing the elephant against his will provides some opportunity to even the odds of his divided world, which made him succumb to the pressure to act, “I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly,” (Orwell a).
The primary audience of this story is the British populations and the colony in general. The secondary audience comprises of colonized people, or those who have had the experiences of colonization. This story forms a kind of psychological bridge that allows the opposite ends of the colonized and the colonizer to access the rare glimpse of the deeper recesses of each other’s mentality. As a result, both parties are able to come to terms with their own weaknesses and the excesses of their attitudes and responses to the discourse of colonialism. In some sense, the story is cathartic because it opens up the mentality of an unwilling oppressor.
By narrating this story in first person, the author makes vivid some of the emotional and psychological turmoil at the heart of the narrator. It helps the reader identify with the conditions of the unwilling oppressor. The story of the elephant is exploited in a metaphoric way that highlights the enormous damage of colonialism at the individual level, “It was a tiny ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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