The Analysis Of Figurative Devices Used In Shooting An Elephant

If a person would think of shooting an elephant in his life and that was not impacted by other individuals, he would settle on a choice, not to do himself. As the human conclusion is essential to us, Orwell demonstrates the authenticity of this thought through the tone of the story in “Shooting an Elephant”. This essay talks about a British police cop and his journey of killing an elephant. Neighborhood individuals loathe him, however, when the elephant keeps on rampaging, they seek his help.

George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” gives an amazing experience to the human mind. This article introduces a ground-breaking topic of internal conflict. Orwell felt an inner conflict between his thinking as a human was and what he ought to accept as an empire’s cop. By clarifying his sentiments about his circumstance and providing an anecdote to explain his situation through splendid pictures, the creators clarify this conflict by giving a solid case of unpredictable feelings.

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The focal point of the story occurs in our typical life, and in fact every day. Individuals act insane, in some cases illogical and sometimes do not realize what they are doing and how they are reacting to a perceived situation. George Orwell clarified his internal logical inconsistency between his interior morals and its nation's duty and white individuals' reputation.

Regardless of the analytical simplicity by which the writer becomes confined into some classification, there are gigantic hopeless breaks between them. To sum up, such a decent variety of work is to lose the egocentric subject, as far as anyone knows share.

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A more intensive look at the composing style, subject, and the experiential segment of the works dissected demonstrate that the term confessional writer is unreasonably shallow as a description. Thin strings tie a gathering of general colossally differing writers.

Throughout the narrative, it is clear how Orwell did not want to shoot the elephant, and that he in fact only did so “to not seem a fool.” This predicts the way human mindset works, the pressure of not being liked and the era in which this situation occurred encouraged Orwell to shoot the poor elephant. The essay portrays the killing of the animal in a descriptive form showing empathy towards the animal. The passage depicts how Orwell gives up initially by thinking about how the people in the East always fail to provide any definite information about the location of the elephant. The form in which the essay is presented accompanies a style of language, a method which explains the minute details of the ongoing. The unusual form of paraphrasing holds the reader's attention, as well as the tone of the essay, gives a flow to the writing.

So as to experience shame, you should have mindfulness and self-awareness that others are making decisions or judgments about you. You are on the 'spotlight.' You know about a lot of guidelines (or social standards) that decide if your activities are 'correct' or 'wrong.' The first paragraph of the essay explains the hatred of the people towards Orwell and how he was affected by their view of him. He explains in clarity the way he and other Europeans were treated in Burma, where he was the sub-divisional police officer of the town. He makes it clear throughout the essay about the differentiated power divide between the Indians and the Europeans. The dark view of people spitting betel juice on a European woman gives the readers an idea about the colonial setback and how people were treated. This story is set in the pre-World War II, before the postcolonial movement, in 1936. Orwell’s story functions as a kind of allegory, it serves as a travelogue between the British colonialism and imperialism. It becomes clear that the sense of ‘shame’ is present in the author since the beginning of the narrative when Orwell says, ‘- all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt’. The guilt here means Orwell felt a kind of sense of shame. The shame of witnessing the dirty works of the Empire which he did not wish to see. Because he was a police officer, he saw the dirty and stinking cages of the lockup. He felt he was not doing what he wanted to because he was not accepted by the masses.

Shame is a sense of feeling in which a person feels unaccepted, hatred for oneself and the feeling of doing something bad and regretting it. Shame and Guilt aren’t the same, but they are related to each other. Orwell did feel guilty of his job and wanted to quit. He also felt shameful as he was ravaging between the empire he served and the people who made his job even more difficult.

To ‘confess’ means to proclaim or reveal something which one has kept as a secret. It is to recognize, claim or concede a weakness. Confessionalism is a style that developed in the late 1950s. The poetry of this sort will, in general, be personal and enthusiastic. Numerous confession poets and writers managed and dealt with topics that had been forbidden: the death of an individual, injury, psychological sickness, suicide, and self-destructive ideation, self-brutality, familial clashes and misuse, sexuality, drinking, and various different themes coursed through the verse from this development. This kind of confessionalism was not absolutely self-portraying yet did immensely express disturbing personal experiences. Confessional poetry or confessional narrative, as the name explains means self-revelation. Confession poetry or a verse serves to uncover a creator's curbed anguish or saddest feelings through sections about the most personal subjects. Despite the fact that sentiments and feelings have, for quite some time been viewed as a center tropical component of verse. The scandalous substance conveyed on in confession poetry, sets it far separated from progressively conventional genres.

As this narrative is set in the pre-colonial era, it explains the situation in a different form, the explanation of the dead man’s body and the comparison of its back to skinning a rabbit shows the intensity and the depth of the author’s observing and realizing behavior. The sense of detailing the scenario gives the reader a picture of the scene.

Why does Orwell ask a friend to get an elephant rifle? What made Orwell do so? Here, Orwell experienced what is called ‘getting carried away’. He witnesses the dead man’s body and the impact of the elephant’s strength, the people around him and how he is a ‘fool’ for the people. All these factors encouraged Orwell to react immediately to the situation. In the narrative, he explains his initial plan was never to kill the animal instead he wanted to let the animal go, but he was treated as the puppet of the people. The narrator confesses his intent to not killing a huge animal like an elephant, then why does he kill the elephant? The crowd followed him as he approached the beast, he saw the excitement in the people’s eyes all marching together.

The moment Orwell saw the elephant, he was clear in his head what he wanted to do. He had two options, whether to wait for the mahout to come and tame the elephant or to shoot it if it comes after his life. Orwell compares the elephant to a cow, where it explains the animal seemed no more dangerous than a cow using figurative language and forms depicting comparison. The way the sentences are presented shows the transition from Orwell’s willingness to not kill the elephant to eventually killing it. By the use of literary devices and techniques, the narrator explains in brief detail the killing of the elephant, the use of similes and repetition enhances the paragraph by emphasizing the death of the elephant. The text emphasizes the way the elephant’s bodily movements changed when Orwell shot him. The texture of the animal’s skin by the effect of the bullet the showed intensity of the act. The brief explanation of the timing and number of the bullets explains how important this seemed for Orwell, not that he wanted to kill the elephant but what was people’s reaction to this act of his. The paragraph explaining the elephant's demise stands out from other paragraphs as the climax. The description, visual imagery makes the death look more intense and the audience more sympathetic.

Does Orwell pay detailed attention to the elephant’s death and him shooting by the rifle and the crowd’s reaction to this event? Was Orwell feeling a sense of sympathy towards the animal while shooting the bullets into his body? Did Orwell encounter shame? I believe the answer to these questions is -Yes, Orwell did ‘confess’ to being in a shameful situation where the circumstances forced him to change his reaction according to the situation. The sentence where he says he could not stand it an went away denotes shame. Orwell was ashamed of his act as he realized he had done the right thing to kill a mad elephant as it had killed a coolie. But that is what he didn’t want to do willingly. The spectators enforced a sense of behavior towards the narrator in a way which made him feel shameful. They treated him in an unjust manner which made Orwell feel unhappy about his job and encouraged him to quit. This ordeal of the elephant killing changed the way people perceived Orwell. Initially, Orwell was hated by everyone, but the ‘magical’ rifle and the power of his position created a sense that he had to live up to the expectation of the crowd. I personally feel if Orwell was treated in a lawful manner and given the respect he deserved from the beginning, the scenario for Orwell would have been different. How would it be different? Orwell would not feel shame, he would have killed the animal for ‘his’ people, for their safety and not for the sake of doing his duty and/or just reacting to the situation with no real emotions. He was going through a series of emotions while killing the beast- guilt, humiliation, mixed feelings and shame of killing an animal which could have been more useful if it was tamed. Did the people accept Orwell after the animal was shot dead? The narrative explains how the people ran with their baskets and dash to get the animals meat. I do not think they bothered much about Orwell.

Although there were discussions about Orwell’s elephant adventure post the event, he wasn’t satisfied with what he had done. The final paragraph narrates how people had different opinions about Orwell killing the elephant – some good, some bad. How Orwell comments on the owner of the elephant show racism. A European cop thinking that the elephant owner being ‘Indian’ wouldn’t be able to do anything for it's animal’s death shows the colonial thinking and the period where discrimination was a normal thing. The last line where Orwell says, that all this he did was to not seem like a fool. But did he actually not seem like a fool after the event? He may have, for the time being, be the hero for the people as he killed the animal because he had the rifle and the dead elephant would provide the meat. But I do not think this act may have created a sense of change in the majority of the population in order to start liking him. Maybe few people would have started respecting Orwell as a young, brave and determinant police officer. But, was he still able to make an impact in their lives for the long run? The last line ends the essay in two outcomes, either the population may change their attitude towards Orwell or treat him the same way the next time they see him.

Throughout the essay, the tone and structure keep the reader engaged in its form and the figurative devices used in the paragraphs gives the audience an imaginary vision of the event which is taking place. Orwell’s approach in the essay describes the emotions, subjective quality and intensity of the killing of the animal. This kind of writing in the early 1900s entertains the reader by enhancing the situation even today.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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The Analysis Of Figurative Devices Used In Shooting An Elephant. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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