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Publisher's Summary

Shooting an Elephant describes the experience of the English narrator, possibly Orwell himself, called upon to shoot an aggressive elephant while working as a police officer in Burma. Because the locals expect him to do the job, he does so against his better judgment, his anguish increased by the elephant's slow and painful death. The story is regarded as a metaphor for colonialism as a whole and for Orwell's view that 'when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys'.

It was first published in the literary magazine New Writing in late 1936 and broadcast by the BBC Home Service on 12th October 1948.

Public Domain (P)2021 SNR Audio

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  • 01-29-22

The Damage of British Imperialsim

This is probably an autobiographical tale, although Orwell never said as much, and it certainly acts as a prism through which to see the damage of British imperialism in Burma.