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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The internal and external conflicts .....


I found “Shooting An Elephant” an essay by George Orwell, as a very interesting essay which reflected his personal thoughts and experience, combined with his political views. Orwell 's metaphoric descriptive words enliven the story, and arouse the readers to read on. The themes of conscience, culture clash, prejudice and tolerance blends well in Orwell’s narration. Even though he is European, he is against imperialism because it’s unfair and oppressive. The internal and external conflict faced by him is revealed throughout the narration of the story. Being a sub-divisional police officer in a town in Burma was a real challenge to him as Europeans are unwelcomed in the country. One day, he was ordered to do something about an elephant which was ravaging the bazaar and caused havoc in the neighboring villages. Orwell was facing internal conflict when the crowd who followed him wanted him to shoot the elephant as he did not have the intention to shoot it. Orwell uses metaphors to make the essay interesting, for example, when he compares himself to being a magician about to perform a trick, or as being a lead actor in a piece, and even an absurd puppet, a posing dummy, and to be wearing a mask! The elephant itself symbolizes the Imperialism, which is going through the critical moments of survival as they were hated by the local people. As the crowd grew larger in number, (which is actually the external conflict that surrounded Orwell) he began to feel the pressure and inner torment as he is being forced to shoot the elephant, Orwell uses repeated words such as “tortured,” “dreadful,” and “agony” as his style of language to convey his internal conflict. In fact the elephant itself is described by Orwell “immensely old,” “grandmotherly,” and “senile,” which are figurative language used by him to reflect his internal guilt over harming and killing the elephant which “seems” to be innocent. Orwell in the end killed the elephant to avoid public humiliation, as he mentioned in his last words “ I had done it solely to avoid looking like a fool”

The essay can be read at the following link:
http://www.george-orwell.org/Shooting_an_Elephant/0.html

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