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Shooting an Elepahnt
Transcript of Shooting an Elepahnt
in one shot
Did not die and all other attempts failed The narrator was opposed to shooting the elephant
Did it anyways because was driven by the Burmese people Elephant symbolic of the British Empire It was crumbling at that time
The British themselves (narrator) laid the foundation for its fall (shot the elephant)
But the driving force were the 'natives'
Officers (suppressors) themselves are not sure what to think about the fall
'Little damage' -one dead man- done in comparison to the death of the elephant (majestic animal - very expensive) The Irony And the irony behind the white man's dominion Why did he shoot the elephant??
The pressure of not embarrassing himself
Need to fulfill the stereotype of the 'mighty white man'
Need to impress the "natives" Why did the elephant not die?
He should not have killed the elephant
Symbolic for the British Empire Narrator is opposed to imperialism
But is a police officer enforcing the rule
Despite this seemingly mighty position he is powerless “actually I aimed several inches in front of this, thinking the brain would be further forward.” “I heard later that it took him half an hour to die.” Narrators overall helplessness is ironic
Police officer (mighty position) - but no power (Burmese monk taunt him)
Stuck in the position - working for a cause he hates
Hates the empire - (elephant) but still does not want to see it die “The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man’s life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.” I could feel their will pressing me forward, irresistibly... as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East "I was only an absurd puppet pushed fro, but the will of those yellow faces behind"(152)