Tatiana see the great beast lying there, powerless

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Tatiana LedouxAP Language and CompositionMrs. Innes12/08/17″Shooting an Elephant:” Textual Analysis    “It seemed dreadful to see the great beast lying there, powerless to move and yet powerless to die, and not even to be able to finish him.” George Orwell layed on the ground with a rifle, wrestling with the idea of whether or not he should pull the trigger on the massive animal. With the pressure of thousands of eyes staring at him, he pulls his finger back. “…I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it: I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. And it was at this moment… that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East.”George Orwell, the author of the dystopian novel Nineteen – Eighty Four (1949), writes a short autobiographical reflection laced with metaphorical scenes from his life as a police officer in Moulmein, a town in the British colony of Burma. He states that he was “an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe to do so” because of his chosen job as a police officer, and that everyone had hated him. On the surface, the story appears to be about a police officer who had to kill a rampant elephant that had caused extensive damage to the town and its inhabitants, but as the reader analyses these events, they are able to see a much deeper metaphorical underpinning of what is really happening. Orwell relives the events of when he set out to search for the rampant elephant that had already killed and decimated livestock, mauled a person, and destroyed some of the cities huts. In the beginning of his journey, Orwell had not planned on killing the animal, only grabbing a .44 rifle which he knowingly was aware that it was much too small to kill such an enormous animal. He planned on using it in “terrorem.” Through the use of imagery, detail, and levels of discourse, Orwell is able to contribute to the overall purpose of the piece, which was to show the pressures of conforming to society’s’ pressures. Shooting An Elephant also shed light on the British empire and how the natives had treated the higher ups. Though gruesome, Orwell’s words paints the perfect imagine of his story. As the reader reads each sentence, their stomach will turn into a hundred knots and makes it difficult to continue reading. The thought of any animal being murdered in front of thousands of faces is gruesome, but telling yourself that it is only a work of fiction makes it better. I was not enthralled or captured with the content of Orwell’s essay, however, his metaphorical analyses I found to be fascinating now that I understand the true meaning his story goes beyond that of a policeman venturing out to kill a menace elephant not like what I was reading but the author did a great job. He is suppose to make us feel like this. When your writing can make someone feel strong emotions, then you know that you have done a good job. Orwell states, “You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs. But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upward like a huge rock toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree. He trumpeted, for the first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground even where I lay.”In the above passage Orwell states, “you could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs.”  The reader is able to fully envision what his happening at this time. You are able to imagine the elephants whole body jolt as the bullet pierces it. You can then see every last drop of strength drain from the body while it gets dropped to its knees. Orwell kills the elephant simply because he fears that he would be humiliated if he failed to do so. Orwell further humanizes the elephant by referring to it throughout the story as “he” rather than “it.” The reader can almost imagine the elephants eyes staring back at you, as if it is pleading for help. This is much more powerful than anything else. Our minds automatically create images in our everyday lives. It is an important aspect of our life. We dream when we sleep and we imagine when we are awake. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon and we have no control over this. His words enhance the natural process of our mental images. Through the use of detail our understanding of the essay becomes stronger. Orwell describes each moment of the killing of the animal in great depth. The use of detail and imagery go hand in hand. Through the large amounts of details used imagery is created. With the first shot Orwell says, “He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralysed him without knocking him down.” The reader is able to draw the images of the elephant suddenly shrinking and pausing; as if time has stopped. The elephant has been stunned and his appearance proves this. The history and background of George Orwell helps us understand his story more. By learning about the author we are able to form more thoughts about him that contribute to the overall piece. Though much of is background was not discussed in the text, most people already know him as the author of Nineteen – Eighty Four, the dystopian futuristic novel. By learning about the author we are able to understand his point of view and why he wrote the way he did. From learning about the history of the location and the time period, the readers understanding will also further. 

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