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The Impact Of Literary Composition Essay

1034 words - 5 pages

George Orwell’s, “Shooting an Elephant,” incorporates the “five recurrent ideas” of literary theory outlined in “Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory” by Peter Barry. Orwell’s literary piece is heavily influenced by allusions to imperialism, historical events, and the impact his time in the army had on his writing. “Shooting an Elephant” serves as a direction correlation to the tenants of literary theory due to the impact Orwell’s surroundings and his personal life had on his writing.
According to Barry, “the meanings within a literary work are never fixed and reliable, but always shifting, multi-faceted and ambiguous. In literature, as in all writing, there ...view middle of the document...

“Shooting an Elephant” is not a closed off critical essay about a soldiers new found moral enlightenment, but it is a self-reflection and political stance on the Burma government.
Liberal Humanists argue that literature is not typical affected by the author’s life. They argue that a writer’s literary work is not affected by outside forces, but is the imagination and creativity of the writer. Literary theorists contend that a writer’s life is directly influences the writer’s work; “Shooting an Elephant” is a testament to this claim. According to biographical information on “Orwell the Writer” handout is that he is work is heavily influenced by his personal experience. In his book, “Homage to Catalonia” is described as a “non-fictional account that chronicles his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. [It] shows the horrors of war and seeks to chronicle the dangers of the communist party” (Handout 1). Similar to “Homage of Catalonia,” “Shooting an Elephant” is a retelling of Orwell’s time in the army and his political stance against imperialism. The literature he produces has been impacted by the world around him.
Orwell describes his experience shooting a tame elephant in a Burmese village as “[the elephant] was dying, very slowly and in great agony, but in some world remote from where not even a bullet could damage him further…I [Orwell] often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool” (Shooting an Elephant, 5). This passage of the death of the elephant can be interpreted in various ways by a reader. Orwell is attempting to demonstrate to the reader the invisible political strings an imperialist government uses to manipulate its citizens. Orwell was pushed to shoot the elephant, but he uses this act as a symbol to the direct rule of an imperialist government. They encourage an individual to act or behave in a certain manner. Another reader could examine the exact passage, but view it in terms of conforming to the majority’s opinion.
According to Barry, “there is no final court of appeal in these matters, since literary texts, once they exist, are viewed by...

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