Shooting an Elephant

Key Political Terms

Colonisation- The act of establishing control over indigenous people of an area

The British Empire- colonies and nations under British rule

Imperialism- Extending a country's power through colonisation and use of military force

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Context

  • The British ruled Burma from 1824 to 1948
  • The Burmese people resented the British and staged guerilla warfare against the British colonial army
  • Eric Blair (George Orwell) was there as a sub-divisional police officer from 1922-27, aged 19-24
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Why did Orwell feel Peer Pressure?

  • Pressure to perform
  • Being laughed at/mocked
  • Patriotism
  • So many people want him to kill the elephant
  • Needs to uphold Britains reputation
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Other Information

  • This essay has a narrative quality about it as Orwell relays the story of him being called to deal with the escaped elephant and the pressure he felt to have to shoot it by the Burmese people
  • The elephant, like the Burmese people, has become the unwitting victim of the British imperialists need to save face. No one is stronger for the experience. 
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