George Orwell on Fascism

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Burma's official name is the Republic of Myanmar, a sovereign state in south-eastern Asia which is sometimes shortened informally to 'Myanmar.' Burma has a westerly border with Bangladesh and India. From 1824 to 1948 British ripped up the economy and enviornment while the region was under british control, countrymen had stolen and used Burmese gold, stones, gems, rice and tick to their own profit leaving the burmese with noting, causing a tremendous change in the economic nature of the society. Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell, was a man of strong opinions, addressing some of his time's major political movements, including imperialism, fascism, and communism as a English novilist, journalist and imperial police officer. In “Shooting An Elephant,” George Orwell addresses that imperialism requires individuals to behave against their conscience to preserve the determined, violent attitude required to please the indigenous peoples, in this case the natives.

As Orwell writes about his experience as an imperial officer, he mentions his hatred towards the British empire and goes into detail about the way he has witnessed them live their lives as individuals in the economy. Orwell justifies how he has already made up his mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner he chucked up his job and got out of it the better. Theoretically—and secretly, of course—he was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British (page 1). The abuse of control caused by the Europians resulted the people of Burman to grow a hatred towards the British people. Orwell could feel the collective aversion that he is subjected to only because he is a white colonial officer is this town. Power produces privilege but also produces hatred especially in unequal situations where a particular race, culture or system is dominating another culture, causing Orwell to become an instrument to the power machinery and for him to become the object of hatred for all the Burmese people who feel that he is a representative for imperialism.

Orwell describes imperialism through this story using the difference between the imperial officers and the Burmese, although he sympathizes for them and despises the British for making his job nearly impossible (page 2). In ideology, he knows that imperialism is a very creul and inhuman thing and he feels sympathy towards the Burmese, however with all of the political stance he is taking, it is very secretavive due to the fact that he is in a payroll of the empire and therefore he cannot take a public stand. Even though Orwell greeds for the people of Burman and comes to the realization of the damage that the Europians have caused, he has no choice but to agree and serve as a police officer for the time being, therefore having to make decisions even if they are against his personal beliefs.

Instead of continuing his education by attending a university, Orwell chose to enter the british imperial service and work as a colonial police officer and with that came expectations to perform certain imperial duties and responsibilities which often come at a cost of the human will. When Orwell received a call from the sub-inspector at the police station he was notified that there was a elephant ravaging the bazaar and was asked to do something about it, he grabbed his rifle and headed towards the elephant. When he arrives at the quarter, he begins questioning the Indians on where the animal was seen and after some misleading directions he finds the elephant tear- ing up bunches of grass, beating them against his knees to clean them and stuff- ing them into his mouth.

Orwell immediately realizes that the elephant is completely harmless and the hormonal excitement that he was experiencing has become domestic and the mahout were goign to come and take him therefore he ought to not shoot the animal. The officer then notices the crowed that he is being watched by, whom were expecting him to shoot the elephant because he had committed himself to the act the moment he had walked into town with a rifle in his hand and if he does not he will not be found as a intrepid Englishman. Although Orwell was aware that it was completely useless, barbaric and inhumane to shoot the elephant, he aims at the animals head and fires his gun. “Shooting an elephant” offers a very interesting glimpse and a insidious view on the idea of imperialism. This essay reveals how the political privilege can become so powerful and hegemonic that they can take over the human will.

Emotions causing a very powerful man to be consumed by the power that he is expected to enact being that when a while male walks on in a colonial space there is a automatic assumption of the performance of power and that if youn walk back without enacting the act, you have compromise the construction of power. The primary fear that Orwell experiences while standing infront of the elephant is not for his own safety or security but rather there is a greater fear at stake which is the security of the construct of the supremacy of the white men which becomes a more important construct to be protected rather than the biological safety his own self. As he describes that I was not afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have been if I had been alone. A white man mustn’t be frightened in front of “natives”; and so, in general, he isn’t frightened (page 4). The constructions of identity often come at the cost of your personal will, which in this story had to be subverted inorder for the bigger cultural signifier to be enacted.

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George Orwell On Fascism. (2022, Feb 03). Retrieved June 19, 2024 , from

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