Shooting an Elephant Essay

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In the following essay, Marks discusses Or-well's literary reputation and discusses "Shooting an Elephant" as an example of "eye-witness" literature, in which Orwell, as narrator and witness, should be considered unreliable.

The resilient myth of George Orwell as a blunt, contentious, but fundamentally honest writer draws much of its force from Orwell's position as an eyewitness to crucial events or significant situations. Whether as down-and-outer in London, imperial policeman in Burma, militia man in Spain, or investigative reporter in northern England, Orwell had seen for himself many of the things he would later describe. This fact, coupled with a spare prose style— a style too readily accepted as guileless—gave to much of Orwell's writing the quality of reality, faithfully captured. Modern critical debate, however, has called into question the capacity of the author to depict reality, objectively or otherwise; the terms themselves— 'author', 'depiction'...

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This section contains 2,089 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Shooting an Elephant Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Shooting an Elephant from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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