Shooting an Elephant

August 6, 2006 § Leave a comment

shootinganelephantI never knew much about George Orwell’s personal life, although some of his books are my favorite stories. In George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant, he gives detailed description of a personal experience that occurred when he was a sub-divisional police officer and stationed in Burma.

I found this story written as plain as a man’s common speech. The story hinted at an underlying element appropriate for a graduate course on Humanities more than a casual read. Touching on his typical themes exploiting the Big Brother mentality of the West; expressing his own aversion to Imperialism when he writes,

“For at threat time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out it the better.” (G. Orwell)

Orwell’s position on Imperialism was a strange mix of guilt, sympathy and personal suffering. Yet I found Orwell’s attitude toward challenging Imperialism at best hypocritical and at worst the shallow result of a self-preservationist’s outlook on British Colonialism at its decline. Strangely enough this does not change my opinion of his work which are still some of my favorite reads.

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