Shooting an Elephant Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 15 September 2016

Shooting an Elephant

A price is payed to save oneself from humiliation, but, being pressured into doing something that one doesn’t want to do, makes people feel lost and pushed into a big problem. In the story “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell, he himself goes through a struggle in being the one to shoot an Elephant. In the beginning he knew what he had to avoid of being laughed at from the Burmese people that surrounded him, since he is an imperial policeman. Throughout the story, Orwell uses rhetorical tools such as: metaphors, connotation, and irony to give his readers a better perspective in what’s going on in the story.

Seeing different forms of writing can help readers see the relationship between these tools and what Orwell is saying about imperialism. First of all, George Orwell uses the rhetorical tool metaphor in story. In the story “Shooting an Elephant” Orwell wrote that “They were watching me as they would watch a conjurer to perform a trick. ” This metaphor meant that the Burmese who was following behind were waiting for Orwell to shoot the elephant. If Orwell shot the elephant then it would be like he was putting on a show since they were watching him.

Another metaphor that he uses in the story is when he wrote that he was “seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. ” This metaphor meant that Orwell was the center of attention because he was being followed by two thousand Burmese people waiting for him to kill the elephant, and he was being controlled by the Burmese when he said he was an “absurd puppet. ”

Another metaphor he wrote, “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it… meaning that Orwell pretended that he was strong and powerful, but he really didn’t want to shoot the elephant, he was just being pressured into doing it because if he didn’t then he would pay the price of being humiliated by the Burmese. Another rhetorical tool that George Orwell uses in the story “Shooting an Elephant” is connotation. In the story he said that “One day something happened which in a roundabout way was enlightening. ” This sentence has a positive connotation because of the word “enlightening” meaning that Orwell speaking the truth about how he feels about the true nature of imperialism is a good thing.

Orwell also wrote that “I marched down the hill, looking and feeling a fool, with the rifle over my shoulder and an ever-growing army of people jostling at my heels” This has a negative connotation because. Lastly, Orwell uses the rhetorical tool, irony in his story. In the story, Orwell wrote that “The thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousands Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill.

And that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh. That would never do. ” The irony that was being employed is that Orwell was more worried about being laughed at then being killed by the elephant. Therefore, Orwell’s writing was convincing because he uses different types of rhetorical tools to prove his point that imperialism is the worst. And Orwell prove this when this little incident happened about the elephant and how he gave him a better glimpse than he had had before about the real of nature of imperialism.

Free Shooting an Elephant Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 15 September 2016

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