Themes

1) Sense of right or wrong (Conscience) The narrator’s internal conflict indicates he has a conscience. He must do his duty as a colonial policeman. He dislike the native Burmese whohatred him and cause him to undergo great physical pain or mental anguishas their foreign oppressor. The narrator also perfectly well understands why the natives dislike him. His official position, not his moral conscience, causes the narrator to act in the way that he does. He upholds his office precisely and keeps the native Burmese in their subordinate and dependent place. As a colonial official, the narrator must not let himself become a public display (spectacle)in front of the native crowds. Not shooting the elephant would make him seem like a coward, so he shoots the elephant. For example, „I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.‟ (from line 10 to 12 on page 43) The narrator’s moral conscience appears in the moment when the corpse of the Burmese crushed by the elephant comes to his attention. The narrator says that the man lay sprawled in a ‘‘crucified’’ posture, invoking all of the emotional symbolism that the term ‘‘crucified’’ creates. The elephant, too, especially in its pain-wracked death, evokes in the narrator feelings of terrible pity. The narrator cannot be comfort even by his knowledge that he acted within the law. For example, „The tortured gasps continued as steadily as the ticking of a clock. In the end I could not stand it any longer and get away.‟ (from line 20 to 22 on page 42) Law, indeed, opposes conscience in ‘‘Shooting an Elephant.’’ The brutal facts associated with imperialism are in direct opposition to the individual’s moral analysis of the situation.

The Burmese represent a powerless pre-industrial society set upon by an industrial superpower looking beyond its own borders for a field of action. .‟ (from line 9 to 11 on page 32). but in some world remote from me where not even a bullet could damage him further. the crowd does.2) Culture Clash The obvious culture clash in ‘‘Shooting an Elephant’’ is that between the colonizers and the colonized. the narrator’s personal values—his sense that the dead Burmese has been. crucified. . The British Empire colonized the Burmese. For example. The British Empire represents the industrial West with its notions of civic administration and its technological excellence. The Burmese dislike the British. the British. the crowd strips it bare of its flesh within a few hours of its having fallen to the ground. apart from the native Burmese. the British humiliate the Burmese. the British and the Burmese. The second obvious culture clash takes place within the narrator himself. as a representative of the West.The dead Burmese seems far more important to the narrator than to the crowd. who belong to the local village-culture and live in a pre-industrial world from which the West itself has long since emerged. „He was dying. Here the personal culture of an ethical Western individual is at odds with his institutional culture. but far more important. in some manner.Less obvious.‟ (from line 11 to 15 on page 42). very slowly and in great agony.‟ (from line 24 to 25 on page 42). are two other culture clashes. The first is the ethical difference setting the narrator. The narrator does not want to kill the elephant. and that the elephant is a victim pure and simple— clash with his duty as a colonial policeman. „I was all for Burmese and all against their oppressors. The narrator personifies the animal and feels the tragedy of its painful death at his own hands. The crowd’s thirst for violence is very different from the narrator’s hope of avoiding it. A felt that I had got to put an end to that dreadful noise.……and I was told they had stripped his body almost to the bones by the afternoon. For example. for example.

‟ (from line 2 to 5 on page 32) c. Disorder-as-violence appears on many occasions directed against the British: a.‟ (from line 7 to 9 on page 31). „early one morning the subinspector at a police station on the other end of the town rang up on the phone and said that an elephant was ravaging the bazaar. „There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans. . „It had already destroyed somebody‟s bamboo but.‟ (from line 12 to 15 on page 33)The elephant is out of control because he killed a cow and raided some fruit-stalls and devoured the stock in the bazaar.when a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way. when the umpire on the playing field looks conveniently the other way while a Burmese player fouls the very same narrator For example. when Buddhist priests laugh spitefully at the narrator For example. „……but if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit betel juice over her dress. killed a cow and raided some fruit stalls and devoured the stock. For example.‟ (from line 11 to 13 on page 31) . the crowd yelled with hideous laughter.‟ (from line 5 to 7 on page 34).A policemanis the one who obey the order too. b. The disorder rule when the elephant escapes and ravages the bazaar.For example. when random Burmese spit betel juice on passing European women For example.3) Order and disorder Order dominateswhen the mahout (elephant handler) ties up the elephant and keeps him under control. This can be seen why the narrator cannot avoid the unpleasant duty of shooting the elephant.

4) Prejudice and tolerance The narrator explains how one becomes prejudiced. Organizationally and technically.” (from line 9 to 11. a state of mind in which one suppresses conscience. Their society cannot win over the society that has colonized them. the locals are inferior. the Burmese and the British. Even though his personal judgments are sympathetic toward the native people. too. - . will now be prejudged. he has to remain dutiful to his job and the empire. Externally. For example “Theoretically. in turn requires treating the locals as inferiors.and secretly.This. creates an establish role on the British Empire. This both colonized and colonizer. Both sides tolerate each other and remain rather neutral. this appears to be the moral thing to do. page 32).I was al for the Burmese and all against their oppressors. the British. This. and the British becomes overlords. The native Burmese give in. Orwell finds himself in the role of policeman. of course.