Shooting an Elephant

h. What purpose does Orwell intend his narrative to serve? Orwell intended to indirectly portray his political and social viewpoint on England and society in general. Through this narrative, he was able to convey his thoughts on various aspects such as tyranny, British rule, racism, and pressure from the crowd. I think Orwell wanted us to listen to his inner thoughts. This whole piece’s main focus was the voice of the main character. As we read the story, we become familiar with the main character’s viewpoint.

j. Orwell spends more time discussing the sociology of the event than about the setting in which it occurs. Explain why doing so is appropriate to his purpose. Orwell’s style of writing is not the descriptive, persuasive, and flowery style. He is to the point. Orwell would rather spend time talking about his theme and message rather than the setting. Hence, his Shooting an Elephant is more plot-oriented, rather than setting. Also, I think Orwell doesn’t want the readers to be distracted by setting or interesting images because he wants his readers to understand his thoughts clearly.

k. Why does the author spend so much time narrating the death of the elephant? The death of the elephant is the climax of the story. Its death is almost like a symbol for the narrator’s failure to follow his heart. In the beginning of the story, the narrator does not want to kill the elephant because it didn’t seem necessary. However, because of the crowd’s pressure, the narrator ends up wearing a mask (figuratively) and shooting the elephant. He defies his morals in order to fit his image as a “brave and controlling police”.

a. In what way is this essay a study in self-deception? The narrator deceives himself by persuading himself that killing the elephant is the only way out. His whole life was “one long struggle not to be laughed at,” and this was a chance to prove his power in the community. Since everyone was standing there watching the narrator point the gun at the elephant, he felt like an “absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of these yellow faces behind”. He felt as if he was wearing a mask, representing someone he did not want to be. Nevertheless, he shot the elephant because he persuaded himself that there was no other choice. By reading this story, we can see the transition of the narrator’s thoughts from an insecure police to a corrupted man who needed to shoot the elephant.


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