Shooting An Elephant Rhetorical Analysis

Words: 601
Pages: 3

Relationships between imperialists and the imperialized are bound to be difficult to understand, especially from a distance. In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, he uses a variety of tones and sentence structure as well as other rhetorical strategies to prove that the victims of imperialism aren’t the people suffering; he is.
Orwell opens paragraph seven with a straightforward, almost detached tone, exactly what you would expect from an imperialist police officer going to perform his duty. He uses phrases like “glanced round”, “yellow” and “immense crowd” to make himself seem very much in control. His use of understatement when describing the mass of over two thousand natives following him further convinces the audience that Orwell knows exactly what he’s doing. Although he is in an important and potentially dangerous situation, his tone doesn’t reveal any feelings of panic or uncertainty. Instead, the lack of flowery or elaborate syntax leads the reader to imaging a professional young Orwell carrying out a job
…show more content…
The once cool and in control demeanor of Orwell abruptly transitions to one of alarm and anxiety. He writes “the people expected it of me and I had got to do it”, further showing the reader, through his panicked tone, the feeling of despair that was rising up inside of him. It is here that Orwell begins to realize that, while he was “seemingly the leading actor” he was actually “only an absurd puppet”. These phrases fills the reader’s mind with the image of a puppet, controlled by its master, seeming to command the stage but utterly useless alone. The juxtaposition of these two metaphors allows the author to convince his audience that, while he seemed to be the traditional model of an imperialist, in reality he was being oppressed by his Burmese subjects instead of the other way