Orwell’s "shooting an elephant" – quotes and analysis

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\”The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups\”
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Shows hidden cruelty of imperialism – Prisoners treated like animals, confined in small cramped rooms, in humane conditions. Metaphor of \”stinking cages\” creates striking image of jails of imperialist Burma.
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\”All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred for the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible\”
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Dilemma of who to support – hates oppression. Oppressed Burmese show their hatred for their rulers by harassing Orwell at any chance. \”Little beasts\” is a metaphor showing the childish nature of this harassment and shows or wells annoyance at it
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\”…in an anime less petty kind of way anti European feeling was very bitter. No one had the guts to raise a riot\”
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Shows hatred for rulers/conveys setting and place – striking word choice, adjectives show childish bullying, Burmese will not rebel fully
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\”The insults hooted after me when I was of a safe distance\”
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Example of petty Burmese -Word choice conveys strong feeling of hatred
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\”Imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better\”
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Conveys hatred to empire – he knows reality of empire(hidden cruelty), supports Burmese secretly, conversational/friendly style
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\”One day something happened which in a round about way was enlightening\”
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Anecdote begins/reason for choosing incident – clear indication, event made him understand imperialism
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\”Elephant ravaging the bazaar\”
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Parody of police report – comical image of incident, contrasts with serious description before
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\”As soon as I saw the dead man I sent an orderly to a friends house to borrow an elephant riffle\”
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Serious tone as dead man is found – ruthlessly killed, Orwell acts indecisively after witnessing horrific body
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\”Whole population of the quarter flocked out of their houses\”
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First indication of crowd – sheer amount of people, all come to see Orwell and elephant, pressure as they want the, elephant dead for meat
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\”I had no intention of shooting the elephant I merely sent the riffle to protect myself\”
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Indecision start – he knows crowd wants the shooting, feels like a fool if he doesn’t kill as he is seen as weak, though he has made a decision
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\”But at that moment I glanced around at the crowd that had followed me\”
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Shadows doubt on decision – \”but\” shows change in direction, understanding he should shoot it
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\”He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it\”
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Key statement to imperialism theme – he now understands true meaning of imperialism and who he must be
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The crowd grew very still, and a deep, low, happy sigh, as people who see the theatre curtains go up at last\”
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Build up of tension – long sentence, commas slow down, increased sense of expectation, performance imagery with Orwell in limelight
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\”When I pulled the trigger… …he looked suddenly stricken and immensely old\”
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Graphic detail of shooting – word choice, strong imagery, sympathy for elephant, emotive description of suffering shows pain
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\”In the end I could not stand it any longer and went away\”
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Disgust and guilt of shooting – emphasis on horror of killing, disgust at own actions, reflects horrendous nature of the regime, shows slow death
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\”Only an Indian after all\” \”Legally in the right\”
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official tone/no longer cares – repeated to cover up the horror of what he did, puts himself as typical white man, trying not to be laughed at by he Burmese

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