Shooting an Elefant by George Orwell

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Essay Database > Literature > English
In the essay “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell describes an internal conflict between his personal morals and his duty to his country—moreover, his duty to the white man’s reputation. Orwell’s decision to kill the elephant is a direct result of oppression. Oppression perhaps goes deeper than the average man would imagine, noticeably hindering even the lives of the oppressors. Orwell’s moral values are challenged in many different ways, ironically enough while …

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…elephant must represent the slow demise of British Imperialism. We can see that Orwell doesn't like himself much because of this incident, and can only wonder how many more incidents such as this, possibly more serious in nature, could have occurred "solely to avoid looking a fool." This summary really made me realize that by his country, by the Burmese, and by himself on the Burmese, Orwell expresses his conflicting views regarding imperialism through oppression.