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An Analysis Of How The Author Gains The Sympathy Of The Reader In "Shooting An Elephant," By George Orwell

723 words - 3 pages

In "Shooting an Elephant," George Orwell finds himself in a difficultsituation involving an elephant. The fate of the elephant lies in his hands. Onlyhe can make the final decision. In the end, due to Orwell's decision, the elephantlay dying in a pool of blood. Orwell wins the sympathy of readers by expressingthe pressure he feels as an Anglo-Indian in Burma, struggling with his morals,and showing a sense of compassion for the dying animal.Readers sympathize with Orwell because they can relate to his emotions inthe moments before the shooting. Being the white "leader," he should have beenable to make an independent decision, but was influenced by the "natives"(Orwell 101). Orwell describes his feelings about being pressured to shoot theelephant: "Here I was the white man with his gun, standing in front of theunarmed crowd - seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I wasonly an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind(101). Everyone has been in a situation in which he or she has been expected tobe a leader. For different reasons people are looked to as leaders, sometimesbecause of their race, ethnicity, or heritage. In this case, Orwell was pictured asa leader because he was British and he worked for the British Empire. Readersare able to relate to the fact that he does not want to be humiliated in front of theBurmese. He declares, "Every white man's life in the East, was one long strugglenot to be laughed at" (101). Orwell compares the elephant to the huge BritishEmpire, and just as the elephant has lost control, he feels that when the whiteman turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys (100). Secretly he hatesthe British Empire and is on the side of the Burmese (97). The elephant isequivalent to the British Empire ravaging through Burma and disrupting the littlebit of peace that they have. So in that instant he felt that he had to kill theelephant.Another aspect that wins reader's sympathy is Orwell's struggle with whathe thought was right and what the Burmese wanted him to do. The readers havea sense that he did not...

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