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Shooting an Elephant Essay & Criticism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 83 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Shooting an Elephant.
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Critical Overview

At the very beginning of "Shooting an Elephant," Orwell notes that during his tenure as a colonial policeman in Burma many people hated him. Furthermore, as a writer of nonpartisan political criticism (paying equal attention to the strengths and weaknesses of all sides), Orwell attracted, and still attracts, his share of personal attacks. As Paul Johnson notes in Intellectuals (1988), "Orwell had always put experience before theory," and when experience showed that the political Left, with which he had previously identified himself, was just as capable of error as the Right, he said so. Thus the critical tradition concerning Orwell's work generally and his politically charged writings, including "Shooting an Elephant," is controversial.

Readers can glean a sense of how those who favor Orwell tend to treat him from Paul Johnson's remark that, for Orwell, "human beings mattered more than abstract ideas." The general position of those who denounce...

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This section contains 426 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Shooting an Elephant Study Guide
Copyrights
Shooting an Elephant from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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