Critcial Analysis Shooting an Elephant
English and Literature
Submitted By pattww
William PattersonPatterson 1
Patterson: Critical Analysis
In this essay we will take a critical analysis approach to George Orwell's “Shooting an Elephant” and its use of certain nonfiction elements that it uses. In “Shooting an Elephant” Orwell tells a tale of when he was an officer in Burma under the British empire. He hates his job and he hates the fact that he is forced to subjugate these people, but he also despises them for making his job so hard with their rebellious ways while also sympathizes with them. He is young and he is very confused with life at this point and has come to the realization that imperialism is wrong in any form. The plot of the story is the strongest non fiction element present because it goes so in depth. It has repercussions not just in the story, but you can infer by the writing other things going on around that time with just the little text present. The non fiction element plot is the main focal point in the story to better convey the situation at that time.
What is plot? Plot is a literary term defined as the events that make up a story, particularly as they relate to one another in a pattern, in a sequence, through cause and effect, how the reader views the story, or simply by coincidence. One is generally interested in how well this pattern of events accomplishes some artistic or emotional effect. Plots usually follow the same steps exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
In Orwell's “Shooting an Elephant” plot plays a big role in getting the point of the story across to the reader. In the first step of the plot the reader learns about who Orwell was as a person during the story.
He being an officer for the British empire in Burma at the time of British imperialism. He resents both his government and the people of Burma, but he understands their plight and encourages their rebellions mentally. He is coming to grips with the fact that he himself hates what the British empire is doing to him and the people of Burma. Without this part of the plot laying the foundation and setting of the story you would not be able to grasp some of the finer points in the story like his later realizations during and after the climax. In the rising action point of “Shooting an Elephant” there is a call about a rampant elephant tearing through the city accosting people and tearing up structures in its way. The rising action leads to the climax of the story without a cause their can be no conflict and with no conflict you can't really grasp a readers attention especially when you tell a personal narrative. The conflict of the story is when face to face with the elephant Orwell realizes he has no want to put down the beast, but he realizes with the throng of Burmese behind him he must do what is expected of him by them. It is in this moment that he realizes that in becoming a tyrant the tyrant becomes one who is also a slave. A slave to the people he rules for he who must maintain power by controlling the people is in himself also a slave to those people. That to maintain that facade of control that the ruler
Patterson 3 must ever do as the people think he should in any situation to always keep up the mask that his is in control. He finds that this relationship is damaging for both parties even if in different
ways. He knows this, but he knows he has to do it he can not help it. He is still young and he doesn’t want to be the laughing stock of both the British and the Burmese. So even after his realization he shoots the elephant anyways and walks away from both the situation and his job in the falling action and resolution.
In conclusion, it is through the plot that we come to fully understand a story. In this case the plot helps us better to understand Orwell during this time in his life. It is through the plot
that we can better get a scope of a situation in the story. In this case it was a tale of how shooting an elephant finally broke the camels back and made Orwell decide to rid himself of the system of suppression of the people of Burma.
Orwell, George. Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays. New York: Harcourt, 1984. Print.