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The Real Nature of Imperialism A Comparison of Orwells Shooting an Elephant Conrads Heart of Darkness Throughout history writers have written about many different subjects based on their personal experiences George Orwell under the pseudonym of Eric Blair was one of the most famous political writers of the twentieth century He was born in Bengal India in 1903 to an English Civil Servant Failing to win a scholarship to a university he went to Burma to serve in the Imperial Police as an assistant superintendent Eventually Orwells mounting dislike of imperialism led him to his resignation His revelations of the behavior of the colonial officers appear in his essay Shooting an Elephant In this essay Orwell describes an incident that he suggests demonstrates the real nature of imperialism This so-called imperialism found in Shooting an Elephant can be compared to that found in Joseph Conrads literature of empire Heart of Darkness In Shooting an Elephant George Orwell demonstrates that no matter what ones beliefs or position in society no individual is absent from the immense pressure to conform Orwell a British police officer in Burma allows an anxious crowd of locals to decide his actions for him causing him to take a life that should not have been taken Upon investigating reports of a rampaging elephant Orwell finds that the elephant has now calmed down and is a threat to no one Orwell states But I did not want to shoot the elephant It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him Orwell 2460 Although the elephant did trample a man to death Orwell knows the elephant is in a calm state and will abide quietly until its owner returns However it is the pressure from the crowd that causes this British military officer to make a poor choice that he would not have made alone Minutes later Orwell finds himself firing bullet after bullet trying to kill the
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