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Transcript of British Imperialism
Imperialism can be defines as extending a countries influence and/or power by using political or military force.
Imperialism is the key idea that connects George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant", and Rudyard Kipling's " The White Mans Burden".
"The White Man's Burden"
In this poem, "The White Man's Burden", Rudyard Kipling is urging the U.S to take up the "burden" of the empire, just like Britain and other nations.
"Shooting an Elephant"
In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” he paints a picture of the indefinite racism and overall destruction Imperialism has caused through the use of irony, descriptive similes, and powerful metaphors.
By: Taryn Castor
As a police officer for the Empire Orwell represents and must uphold its authority; however, one of the central themes in this essay is his constant fear of mockery and ridicule. In the opening paragraph he announces, “The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. There were several thousand of them in town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans” (Orwell).
This conveys a sense of irony, for the most righteous and saintly of the Burmese society are the ones who ridicule him most. Racism is clearly portrayed here, the Europeans stood around on guard and took authority over this society creating a mound of tension that Orwell is attempting to display. The priests alongside the rest of the civilians are forced to succumb to this matter, however a resentment between the imperial power and the oppressed is extremely relevant.
In depicting the scene where Orwell shoots the elephant he states, “the crowd grew very still, and a deep, low, happy sigh, as of people who see the theater curtain go up at last, breathed from innumerable throats” (Orwell). The muted crowd and mention to a drawn curtain is a definitive simile for theater.
Orwell feels as though he must act out a role for the Burmese people. Here we see the clear relationship between performer and audience in depth. When the elephant dies Orwell selects strong and vivid imagery “the thick blood welled out of him like red velvet, but still he did not die” (Orwell).
In this simile, by comparing the elephants blood to red velvet he presents language otherwise unused in his story to amplify the serious gravity of the death. He views this killing of a peaceful creature as vandalism and its slow painful death symbolizes the struggle of which the Burmese people have endured.
In the 19th century there were three wars between the Burmese people and their British oppressors.
In Orwell's essay he writes “when I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick…I fired again into the same spot…I fired a third time. That was the shot that did it for him” (Orwell). These three gun shots represent the three wars between societies.
Here we see the elephant as a symbol of Burma and its fighting attempt to remain alive. Even after these three shots the elephant still lives, now in pain and agony just as the Burmese people under British control. Orwell's inability to quickly and painlessly kill the elephant is a metaphor for the suffering British Imperialism has caused and his amateur approach at killing the beast represents the oppressor’s idiocy.
The readings “The White Man’s Burden,” by Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant ,” show the burden of imperialism which is put upon the nation trying to colonize and imperialize another for profit.
Both of these readings show the ideals of Europeans to try and civilize new territories from the indigenous people who lived there.
Both recognize the fact that these nations will not appreciate the "superior" nation controlling them. However, these authors disagree on whether these nations should be ruled over and how.
In the famous poem, “White Man’s Burden,” the author is suggesting that Imperialism is a very good endeavor the United States should have. Author Rudyard Kipling says: “Take up the White Man’s burden” and “To serve your captives’ need.”
These quotes show that Kipling thinks the United States should help the Philippines by serving their “need.” He also tells the White Man to “be done with childish days,” meaning that the United States must civilize the Philippines.
Kipling urged the United States, with special reference to the Philippines, to join Britain in the pursuit of the racial responsibilities of empire: “your new-caught sullen peoples, Half devil and half child”
Many in the united states, including president McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, welcomed kiplings rousing call for the unites states to engage in “savage wars”, beginning in the Philippines