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Shooting an Elephant

Literary devices are an important aspect to literature. They provide a deeper meaning to the story and refer to a specific aspect of literature which we can recognize, interpret, and analyze. Irony, imagery, flashbacks, figures of speech, and metaphors are all examples of literary devices that aid in the development of a strong story. George Orwell's story “Shooting an Elephant” is a good example of how multiple metaphors can be used to compare unrelated events with the same meanings. One of the strongest metaphors in this story is the elephant and its destructive path, it portrays British Imperialism and their aggressive take over. The long drawn out death of the elephant is also a metaphor for the downfall of the British Empire and its long lasting effects. The effects can also bee seen in the narrators thoughts, and feelings towards Burmese people and Imperialism, guilt towards shooting the elephant and justification of the killing in the end. The narrators feelings are the hostile feelings toward the British, Imperialism, and the Britain's justification for their actions. The narrators story of shooting an elephant can easily stand alone and still be meaningful and effective but once the metaphors of the British Empire are paralleled with Orwell's tale, it takes on a whole new meaning and creates a deeper, more significant narrative. As mentioned, a strong literary device in “Shooting an Elephant” is the destructive nature of the elephant and its metaphor with the Britains destructive nature of Imperialism. The elephant in Orwell's story is not hostile, it only killed when the 'coolie' got in its way. The elephants rampage may have been due to the provocation of people that got to close, it had a certain level of comfort and what anyone came to close, it would become irritated and react irrationally. The narrator even acknowledges the fact that the elephant “took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he mig...

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Shooting an Elephant. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:45, January 27, 2015, from