This is somewhat paradoxical, however, as the narrator’s own job is demeaning and forces him to see “the dirty work of the Empire at close quarters”. Heated discussions followed the shooting and the Indian owner was angry but could do nothing. Orwell describes how he was tripped up by a Burman on the football field and the Burman referee ignored it while the crowd laughed at him hideously. An enormous senility seemed to have settled upon him. So, Orwell fired the remaining shots where he thought its heart was. He comments on how, even though he is of the ruling class, he finds himself either largely ignored by the Burmese people or hated.

He may be suggesting that for some the elephant is more important than the life of a human being. However, Orwell was legally right since the animal had killed a person. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. He was not an experienced hunter and did not know where to shoot the animal so aimed for its forehead where he thought its brain was. At that age I was not squeamish about killing animals, but I had never shot an elephant and never wanted to.

I had no intention of shooting the elephant — I had merely sent for the rifle to defend myself if necessary — and it is always unnerving to have a crowd following you. He concludes stating that shooting the elephant hos necessary as a means of demonstrating power and ensure British dominion. Archived from the original on May 19, However, apart from imperialism and its effects on local life, the essay is also about how the inherent burmq of imperialism is destroying the freedom of both the oppressor and the oppressed.

The narrator singles out “Buddhist priests”—persons synonymous with peace and goodwill—to be “the worst of all” and comments on how he would gladly “drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts”. His body did not even jerk when the shots hit him, the tortured breathing continued without a pause.


They had not shown much interest in the elephant when he was merely ravaging their homes, but it was different now that he was going to be shot.

Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

He had broken his chains and escaped into the town and the mahout who could control it had given the wrong way to chase the beast and could not be back for twelve hours.

The crowd sighed in relief and as he pulled the trigger it cheered. An essay is non-fictional prose. Their ann faces were like eager for it and Orwell could nis think of going against their wills. I shoved the cartridges into the magazine and lay down on the road to get a better aim.

I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it. He thought he would have to kill the elephant because these people were interested in seeing the elephant getting killed. Retrieved February 21, Although it is not the narrator’s wish to shoot the elephant, and even though he holds a weapon far beyond the technological capabilities of the natives, his will is not his own and, due to their expectation, he realises that he must shoot the elephant; “I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind.

You could see the shootijg of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs.

george orwells essay on his life in burma shooting an elephant

Moreover, I did not in the least want to shoot him. Readers do not hear any other voice or come across any dialogues which is to retain the focus on the central theme. There was only one alternative. Once the narrator arrives, he finds a peaceful animal which offers no danger.


There are two powerful symbols used in the essay to deliver its central message and they are the elephant and the rifle. The corpse looked devilish with its eyes wide open and skin off its back.

Shooting an Elephant / George Orwell

Kenny shooting an elephant in similar circumstances. They can inflict as much cruelty as they like but they have built a hell and it will not add to gforge pride and only deplete them of their willpower like Orwell feels his depleting to see a crowd of yellow faces on his back. It was a tiny incident in itself, but it gave me a better glimpse than I had had before of the real nature of imperialism — the real motives for which despotic governments act.

He was breathing very rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great mound of a side painfully rising and falling. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing.

So, Orwell fired the remaining shots where he thought its heart was.

george orwells essay on his life in burma shooting an elephant

The elephant did not move but seemed to be trying to beat the overwhelming pain caused by the penetrating bullet. One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening.

The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly.

The essay ends at a comic note but it is difficult to avoid feeling the hidden sarcasm. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Shooting an Elephant analysis”. At last, after what seemed a long time — it might have been five seconds, I dare say — he sagged flabbily to his knees.

That would never do.