Power to Transcend Time and Culture, Which Essay

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power to transcend time and culture, which is why many of the world's best stories are also the most enduring ones. Most powerful stories are also political in scope. In Frankenstein, Mary Shelley warns the world about the arrogance of egotism and the dangers of selfishness and irresponsibility. In "Shooting an Elephant," George Orwell sends a message about the pitfalls of colonialism. Both of these stories are powerful because their narrative serves a greater purpose.

A powerful story has strong character development, because strong characters grapple with the grey areas of ethics and morality. Rather than showing clear divisions between good and bad, stories like Frankenstein and "Shooting an Elephant" show that no person is fully good or fully evil. The biggest power in Shelley's Frankenstein is the tension between the creature's emotional needs and his creator's inability to meet those needs. The story serves as a metaphor for irresponsible parenting, and also warns about the disastrous consequences of reckless egotism. The title character Dr. Frankenstein had not thought through his experiment. It might have been that he did not know it was going to be a success, but more likely, it was simply due to the classical Greek concept of the tragic flaw: hubris. Pride is the downfall of most of literature's strongest characters, and it is like this for Dr. Frankenstein. Although few would call Dr. Frankenstein a strong character, he is nevertheless a delivery system for the overarching theme of hubris. Likewise, the narrator of "Shooting an Elephant" takes the back seat to the broader theme of colonialism in Asia. In both Frankenstein and "Shooting an Elephant," the theme is more important than the character, but the character's flaws permit the theme to be shown in its complexity.

The power of a story dwells within its ability to convey universal constants in the human experience without oversimplification. In Frankenstein, Shelley conveys the constant of hubris as a character flew. Orwell accomplishes the same in "Shooting an Elephant," because colonialism is nothing more than a large scale demonstration of hubris. The British had the hubris of believing in its own cultural superiority. Yet Orwell also makes a powerful commentary on the universal nature of social pressure and conformity. The narrator is torn between two worlds: the world of the British and the world of the Burmese. He finds colonialism distasteful. "I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better," he states. Yet the Burmese cannot accept him, because he is not from their society and they do not trust him. Because the man is trapped between two worlds, he struggles with ethical decision making when it comes to killing the elephant. There is no simple answer for Moulmein. Killing the elephant is a distasteful act that he participates in unwillingly,…

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