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Two Sides Of The Same Coin

910 words - 4 pages

In the midst of the twentieth century, George Orwell left a mark on the literature world, writing well-known novels such as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. His novels brought light to the unseen, dark side communism and totalitarianism’s destructive powers. Much of his works, including essays, critique the then-modern politics. Overlooked in favor of Orwell’s novels, the essays he wrote deserve just as much attention. In his writing career, Orwell tackled numerous political hot topics despite major backlash from peers and critics. Much of Orwell’s insightfulness originates in his time overseas, part of being in the British Imperialist Police. In his day, imperialism and colonialism was a common attribute of being a British citizen. The British had invaded and took over many countries such as India and parts of China, and became known as the British Empire, coined “the empire on which the sun never sets”. Their presence in those countries did not receive a warm welcome at all as the occupancy made the smaller country dependent on the imperialists, which was exactly what the imperialists wanted. Throughout his life, Orwell encountered many instances of colonialism and imperialism, and from those encounters, Orwell developed an extreme bias against all-controlling forces as well as feeling a conscience of being the all-controlling force. Orwell suggests colonialism and imperialism simultaneously hurts the conquerors and the conquered people.
Orwell first encountered colonialism as a police officer in British-ruled Burma and recognized its effect on the imperialists, one like him. In a foreign country, Orwell already felt alienated and unsafe but truly hated his job. One of his experiences involves Orwell, a gun, an elephant, and an insufferable audience of natives. Orwell shoots an elephant because he felt he needed to fill the shoes of an authority figure, specifically as a White man. “Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd — seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib. For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the ‘natives’, and so in every crisis he has got to do what the ‘natives’ expect of him. He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” (Orwell). The natives wanted him to shoot the elephant, and Orwell concluded he had no choice but to comply. Orwell felt pressured into an extreme situation in which no escape came. Orwell felt compelled to...

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