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‘To Avoid Looking a Fool’ or Repressed Ethnocentrism: A Postcolonial View of George Orwell’s shooting an Elephant

Suchismita Sarkar,

Assistant Professor, Dept. of English,  Dinabandhu Mahavidyalaya, Bongaon, North 24pgs.


It is customary to consider George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant the quintessence of imperialistic impression. More broadly , it demonstrates the adverse impact of  it on people  who unwittingly become a part of the entire system .In this  story the narrator unwillingly kills an elephant under compulsive and unavoidable circumstances and inadvertently emerges as and conforms to the figure of a Sahib who is assigned with the duty to lift up ‘the white man’s burden’. While performing such inhuman act, he defies his common sense, good judgement, instincts and emotions. But the crucial question still remains that whether he killed the creature only to save his honour, not to be tagged as a fool or his repressed ethnocentrism enkindled his desire to pose as a protector of the native people. This article is an attempt to  unravel the causes that worked behind his final decision to kill the elephant.