British Imperialism on Display Other chapter (not listed above)

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Shooting an Elephant - Orwell

I clearly got the impression that Orwell was caught between a rock and a hard place, to understate the situation. He raged at the Burma residents who hated the British and took it out on British police -- and on the other hand, he knew imperialism was a bad policy and he did not have positive thoughts at all about his duty in a British uniform. I was very attentive to his narrative, and I was impressed too that the narrator knew he was "ill-educated" (which is quite an admission) and was living day-to-day with rage and hatred.

My predictions for the rest of the essay include the thought that the protagonist will not be able to handle the situation well at all. First of all, I hate it that elephants are chained up and made to do humans' work, and I can't blame that elephant for raging. But the protagonist is always raging so he should understand an animals' anger. I believe the elephant will somehow get away, but I could be wrong.

Question THREE: When Orwell writes, "The nearer you get to the scene of events, the vaguer it becomes," he is letting the reader know the people were either confused or ignorant. Naked children being chased by an old woman with a switch and "a labyrinth of squalid bamboo huts"; this is the description of third world poverty and it makes the fact that the British are imperialistically ruling over this lower class of people even more dramatic and pathetic. The details of paragraph three makes the citizens in Moulmein seem like ignorant beasts, more like animals. The fact that the crowds of Burmese were following him -- excited because they might see an elephant shot dead -- and that he at this point in the story had no intention of shooting the elephant, gives drama to the story.

Question FOUR: This series of paragraphs is an epiphany for Orwell. With a thousand or more villagers cheering for the death of an elephant and a powerful rifle in his hands, he realizes the "hollowness, the futility of the white man's dominion in the East"; he feels like a "puppet" and a "dummy" being manipulated by "yellow faces" (the use of "yellow" has a racist tone to it). He more than ever is repulsed by British imperialism, but he doesn't want to end up "a…

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