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Shooting an Elephant is Orwell's searing account of his experience as a police officer in imperial Burma; killing an escaped elephant in front of a crowd 'soley to avoid looking a fool.' The other masterly essays in this collection include such as 'My Country Right or Left', 'How the Poor Die', 'Such, Such Were the Joys', his memoir of the horrors of public school, as wellShooting an Elephant is Orwell's searing account of his experience as a police officer in imperial Burma; killing an escaped elephant in front of a crowd 'soley to avoid looking a fool.' The other masterly essays in this collection include such as 'My Country Right or Left', 'How the Poor Die', 'Such, Such Were the Joys', his memoir of the horrors of public school, as well as discussions of Shakespeare, sleeping rough and boys' weeklies and a spirited defence of English cooking. Opinionated, uncompromising, provocative and hugely entertaining, all show Orwell's unique ability to get to the heart of any subject.This edition is an alternate cover of ISBN-13:978-0-141-18793-6cover credits: keenan...

Title : shooting an elephant and other essays
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ISBN : 6663686
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Number of Pages : 357 Pages
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shooting an elephant and other essays Reviews

  • Petra X
    2019-01-20 22:09

    Update Here is a free link to this very short story and other writing by Orwell.The end of the Empire came when those who had previously given up their arms and all their wealth to he-who-wears-a-pit-helmet and burns-in-the-sun realised that Jack was not only as good as his master, but his master was a total dickhead anyway. And it was past due time he went home to colder climes and the fat queen who wore a golden crown studded with jewels stolen from their lands. This story is about one of the sunburned crew realising that yeah, he is a dickhead and reflecting on the lengths he went to just to stop other people realising that. But they knew, they just didn't know they could do anything about it, deprived of arms and government as they were. All they could do was force him to behave in ways that would benefit themselves. In this case, he had to kill a mad elephant that he didn't want to or even seen the need to, but that was his role and elephant was their favourite food. The satisfaction of forcing the white man and his gun to perform his self-defined role was one thing, but defining their own roles another. Eventually though, revolution and independence became possible and then inevitable.Well, actually not. The British government has been trying to get its remaining outposts of empire to become independent since the mid-80s. The whiter the populace (ie Falklands) the less hard they try and vice versa. (The Labour government actually gave all the rights of passport and settlement that these pale islands enjoyed to the darker ones, which was something). The problem is that the non-independent islands are now in the position of power. They are all self-governing and the UK is responsible for defence, helps out with major island maintenance via its roving ships, sends old books to the libraries and provides a good place of tertiary education for those that wish it. The only irksome thing for the locals is having to have a meet-and-greet governor who generally lords it over everyone having gathered a coterie of cocktail-party going expats and rich, sycophantic locals around him. But the main benefit is that our often thoroughly-corrupt politicians cannot change the political system and elect themselves dictator president-for-life. So no one except the thoroughly-corrupt politicos actually wants independence. Empire died. Britain's cold and grey and poor, and we are sunny and warm and not too badly off. We can come to the mother country and work, you can't come here without a work permit. Karma.Great story. Very short. As well-written as everything else by Orwell.

  • Rowena
    2019-01-04 02:52

    This was my introduction to George Orwell's non-fiction. Supposedly during his lifetime, Orwell was known foremost as an essayist; this was quite surprising to me as it was only a couple of years ago that I'd ever even heard mention of Orwell writing non-fiction. This collection of essays really impressed me.Firstly, the subject matter was very varied, discussing Orwell's observations during his time in Burma, his stay in a French hospital (very horrific), and also his views on books, literary figures and so on.I think his observations about society are still very much valid, and I thoroughly enjoyed his thoughts, his dry wit. Very informative.My favourite essays were "Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool,' "Politics and the English Language," and "Politics and Literature." "Politics and Language" in particular was quite enlightening and offered some advice on good writing habits: "If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythm of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphorious." And for proof that politics hasn't changed much over the years, "Politics and English Language" has the following words : "Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness."Highly recommended.

  • Stephen P
    2018-12-25 05:12

    Surely, a vivid account of the oppression and futility of British colonialism in the East, or anywhere colonialism sets up its tent. Further it shows how the oppressor also becomes the oppressed by having to wear a mask to fit the role of oppressor, then the mask becomes their face.It is also a fine study, I believe, of our interior lives and its workings. A ringing metaphor for the roles we find ourselves playing to subscribe to the mores and culture of our land. How who and what we are can be crushed by these pressures. Orwell’s novel-novella takes place in Moulmein, in lower Burma, under British rule. A young British police officer, conflicted about his feelings regarding British imperialism, is called on to shoot a wild elephant who reportedly is terrorizing the Burma town. Having an elephant hunting rifle in hand he takes off to where the elephant is located in a field. The townspeople, of course without access to weapons follow in pursuit of a thrill. At the field the elephant stands appearing as a harmless creature. The young officer does not want to shoot the elephant but at the same time he has a crowd of, “Natives,” behind him who want and expect him to. Will he shoot the elephant to secure a tighter fit as a British Colonizer, or refuse to shoot and have to walk past the large crowd of Burmese men, women, and children? Will he have the guts to locate who he is apart from the role impressed upon him and act according?At the end of watching the short movie of, Shooting the Elephant, two days before reading this great work, my wife and I remained silent trying to situate ourselves again before speaking. Compressed, it was an experience that if shared threaded a bonding. The movie was different than the book in some aspects. There was for me no way to read Orwell’s story without being influenced by the movie. The reflex reaction to compare, dictated a strained restriction that permeated the act of reading, thus reconstructing the theme of the book. Can we step in any direction without being constricted by the expectations of our culture, the expectations imposed by ourselves, even our past experiences? Is it a worthy life pursuit to slice as many of the binds as possible? That is in part what being a reader, writer, an artist, is about?

  • Kim
    2019-01-03 00:09

    Why has it taken me so long to discover George Orwell's non-fiction? Ever since reading 1984 when I was a teenager I've known Orwell was an excellent writer, but I didn't know just how extensive a range he had. Fiction, journalism, literary criticism, political and social commentary, memoir; there appears to be nothing Orwell couldn't turn his hand to. This volume includes a range of Orwell's essays from the 1930s and 1940s, with subjects including Orwell's time as a policeman in Burma, the years he spent in the prep school he loathed, the writing of Charles Dickens, Gullivers Travels, the French hospital system, poverty in England, the cost of books and political language. While I found some of the essays of more inherent interest than others, all of them are engaging, written in wonderfully clear prose and imbued with Orwell's honesty, his passion for social justice and his capacity for at times painful self-reflection. This is great stuff. How glad I am that Orwell was so prolific and that there's a lot more of his writing for me still to discover.

  • Josh
    2019-01-14 00:52

    A teacher my second term of college said I should drop out because of how much I liked Shooting an Elephant. In retrospect, I realize exactly how much of a commentary on her that is. Moral of the story, don't go to community college.

  • Duane
    2019-01-14 02:08

    Published first in 1936, it is not known if this short story by Orwell is fiction or non-fiction. This is a snapshot of British Imperialism on the individuals level, and it's perception from both sides (politically) of the human experience. A local British official in Colonial Burma is ask to deal with a working elephant run amok in the village. The official, possibly Orwell himself, is torn between shooting the elephant and waiting for his handler to return. He really doesn't want to shoot the elephant, but he feels pressured by the presence of two thousand villagers looking on to act like they expect the imperialist to act. This story is available for free on the Literature Network.

  • Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
    2019-01-20 00:16

    He does not want to kill the elephant but he is a British police officer in his country's colony Burma and two thousand (he must be exaggerating) yellow-faced Burmese are watching, expecting him to kill the beast who had gone on a rampage, killing a cow, destroying crops and houses and causing the death of a native. Yet it is now calm, peacefully eating grass, and its owner may soon arrive and bring him home.The rulers, however, have masks to wear and a reputation to protect. They cannot afford to become objects of ridicule of those whom they rule. The latter, on the other hand, have expectations about their rulers. So kill the elephant he must. It was at this point, with the elephant rifle in his hands, that Orwell had this epiphany:"(I)t was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man's dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd--seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind."Orwell seemed to like epiphanies like this (where he takes part in a killing) so much. We see this in his other story entitled "A Hanging" which I shall review after this. Stay tuned!

  • Pink
    2019-01-20 03:04

    This is a brilliant collection of essays. Orwell is still relevant today and always worth reading.

  • Matthew
    2019-01-18 03:01

    Lovely -- I can't believe I let this sit on my shelf for 3 years before getting round to it. I have not read Orwell before, save for Animal Farm as a teenager, and didn't realise what a sharp essayist he is; I certainly intend to read more. Certainly I'm no Orwell expert, but here are a few things I do notice from this collection:1. How much he is a proletariat voice, despite his middle class family background and relatively elite education (admittedly on scholarship) -- witness his criticism of Dickens' lack of realistic empathy for the real working classes, his sensitiveness to the biases of the weekly magazines that then passed for cheap mass entertainment, his embedded journalism in the homeless shelter, the very title of "How The Poor Die", etc. His sympathies are entirely with the working class.2. How against totalitarianism he was -- and yet how much this dates him (for which I remove a star); his specific political attacks seem hardly relevant now. What is relevant, though, and linked to his political commentary, is his attack on censorship and the politicization of knowledge/truth/writing. Interestingly, this was directed at his own Britain, where newspaper reporting was apparently politicized as a result of the wars; how he saw the politicization of knowledge inevitably means a malleable history, a malleable truth, a past that belongs to the elite. 3. What a sharp literary critic he was -- his essays on Charles Dickens and, separately, Swift's Gullivers Travels are brilliant. I like how he argues Dickens is a moralist -- his novels never critique the system, rather, the morality and behavior of people in the system -- and how he extends this to argue that there are always two views: how can you improve the system so as to improve human behavior, versus, you must first change human behavior for any system to work. (I confess myself very much of the latter view.)4. The same qualities that make him a good literary critic, I think, make him an excellent biographical essayist -- he is reflective and sufficiently sensitive to his own internal reactions, that some of his best stuff are his reminiscences -- the titular essay, Shooting An Elephant, for example, is a rather tragic, honest self-accounting, while Such, Such Were The Joys, is a surprisingly vehement recounting of his days in boarding school. (I've not come across a single positive overall memory of the British boarding school system in the early 20th C...)5. Simply what an entertaining writer he is -- I can read 3 or 4 of these at a go, even though they're full of insights, they read at a great pace.

  • Daniel Gonçalves
    2018-12-30 04:59

    As seen in /my link textAlthough a writer, Orwell was primarily a journalist. As a result, the sheer necessity to extricate himself from the depiction of something he his witnessing first-hand is quite evident along his works. What differentiates him from his other novelist-journalists of his epoch such as Steinbeck or Hemmingway is the ability to drop a considerable amount of humanity into his accounts. The essay “A Hanging” – in which Orwell describes how it was to witness a public execution of a prisoner in India – is a perfect example of this. In it, he not only expresses his contempt for the man who is about to die, but he also acknowledges the wrongness of the situation. In “How the Poor Die”, he recounts his memories of his unpleasant stay at Hôpital X in Paris. Once again, he shows affection towards the unfortunate people who died alone and helpless in the corridors of the establishment. Other than his empathy, Orwell holds a pragmatic view regarding writing, language and communication. “The prevention of Literature” and “Politics and the English Language” are the most conspicuous examples. In these two essays, he argues about the pretentiousness of certain writers, who use ideas to convey words, and not the other way around. One can say that these points of view might have emerged during his years working as a journalist, yet the arguments he utilizes hold enough poignancy to persuade the reader. In essence, and from his perspective, the “ego” should not count when writing. He reveals he writes only when he has something to tell the audience, and not exclusively as means of self-recreation.Defining someone as “ahead of his time” might be regarded as a cliché or commonplace. But when it comes to portraying George, this needs to be done. This book should be seen as essential. That is, if you the reader wants to explore the mind of a man who lived through most of the pivotal points in the first half of the XX century, although not always fully belonging.

  • Lily
    2019-01-21 05:09

    This book was probably one of the most interesting novels I have ever read. It is not a traditional book, which is one thing I liked a lot about it. It is actually a collection of essays by George Orwell. I have read Animal Farm, by George Orwell as well, and that was one of the most amazing books I have ever read (on an analytical level). One of my favorite essays was about Gandhi, whom is obviously a very convtroversal man. His ideals are widely debated all around the world.One of the most interesting things Orwell said was that he did not agree with a lot of Gandhi's personal beliefs, but agreed with many of the statements he made concerning societies as a whole. I never really thought about being able to agree with the suggestions made by a man you disagree with on a whole. I find that incredibly interesting.

  • Shalini Sinha
    2019-01-20 23:10

    "Shooting an Elephant" was an eye-opener for me. I read this story for the first time in my lecture "Masculinities in Literature and Popular Culture", that is, in the context of masculinity of a white, imperialist British officer in contrast to the colonized Indians and Burmese. It was my second book by Orwell - the first being Animal Farm, followed by 1984 and the legendary writer and thinker had already become a fav. This book offers an insight into the minds of some British officers, through the lens of main protagonist Orwell, a British officer in Burma during colonialism, who were full of disdain towards their own leaders and nation which establishes what Frankl wrote in his book "Man's Search for Meaning" - "Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn."Orwell's writing set up in an imperialist society reminds me of two life-changing books I happened to come across recently :i) MK Gandhi - The story of my experiments with truth - The great leader who could convene courage to critic himself and even his embarrassing downsides in front of the world.ii) Viktor Frankl - The renowned psychologist who could even find few heartfelt and compassionate people among Nazis.And then there is Orwell. Through "Shooting an Elephant", he shows his dejection of the treatment of some lives ("Coolie", "only an Indian", and "elephant") as inessential and his feelings of pique with the same.

  • Eve Kay
    2019-01-12 05:05

    Reading Orwell is like reading my own thoughts. Having him write them out for me is almost like spiritual experience. For lack of a better word. No, he'd hate the words spiritual experience. It's like mindblow. That's what it is. He wouldn't have known what that is. Unless he'd already thought of that back when. Like he did so many other things. It's almost creapy.Here are some of the best essays, articles, letters of the volume I read:Why I WriteKind of like having a person you greatly admire let you into their professional life and -mind and tell you respectably why they do what they do for a living.A HangingA first look, in this volume I read, into what was coming up. Initial expectation of Shooting an Elephant grew. Like taking a trip in a time capsule to witness something horrific.Shooting an ElephantLeaves an everlasting imprint in my mind. The way Orwell tells the story and details it from many points of view makes it hard to "pick a side".Bookshop MemoriesFirst thoughts arise in my mind about how time has changed and at the same time realizing that this volume is also a look into the world Orwell lived in and how much is still the same. At the same time we get an idea of what kind of things he did for a living. At one point he worked in a bookshop.MarrakeschA glimpse of life in Marrakesch. Harsh and real. So brutally real.Wells, Hitler and the World orderOrwell's political views on war and mainly England.Poetry and the MicrophoneA real and honest proof how times have changed. To read poetry on radio is such an out-there idea that I'm thinking I came up with it. Why isn't anyone else thinking about this? Because video killed the radiostar. And Orwell foresaw that TOO.London letter for Partisan ReviewOrwell's view points on war, England, the elite, etc.Notes on NationalismLike reading my own thoughts for the first time and having someone explain them to me first hand. A very odd experience. Feeling a true kinmanship with Orwell.Revenge is SourA detailed explanation on different views on revenge. Why others want it but can't carry it out.In Front of Your NoseOrwell's views on the state of the world (1946 and before).Confessions of a Book ReviewerWhy it's hard and how underappreciated the work was.How the Poor DieGruesome, although I already knew things were like this in many a hospital back when, very life-like description of a French hospital. Orwell was probably able to write it so well because unfortunately he had to spend some time there himself, but many stories he tells second hand are also very believable thanks to his masterful penmanship.Such, Such Were the JoysOne of the best pieces of literature I've read in a long time.Many of the details weren't new to me but I read it as a diary of Orwell's. All of it was new to me in terms of Orwell having gone through it. At the same time able to relate to alot of it even if not at the same exact detailed level but feelings, ideas, views on childhood and so on.

  • Joey
    2018-12-23 00:14

    I have read some autobiographical essays, just the like of my favorite ones by Richard Rodriguez, considered as one of America’s best essayists. But this one by George Orwell , is, for me, more remarkable in comparison . I was impressed. I liked it : simple but transparent, plainspoken, and persuasively natural. I would say that this is the kind of writing styles I would like to imitate. George Orwell wrote about his anecdotal experience as a military policeman in Burma ( Myanmar now ) under the British government. He stated his difficult adjustment in a country where the atmosphere was emotionally suppressing because of the atrocious social classification at that time. His mettle was tested when he was expected to shoot an elephant considered by some at that time as a pain in the neck. So he would be in bind whether he had to kill or save the elephant. Despite that it is considered to be an autobiographical essay, reading it is like as though a short story; it is absorbing. I liked the fact the narrator, probably Orwell himself, describes his experiences in simply artistic structures of the sentences ; consequently, I got absorbed in a tell-tale. As a matter of fact, I was carried out by the sequences. When the story ended, I felt like one of the spectators watched him kill the elephant and was relieved. But the truth I could be part of Orwell’s other side of self: leaving the scene in agony. Behind its anecdotal façade, there is something metaphorical about the essay. It has something to do with Britain’s imperialism and its effect in Burma. In fact, in this essay, Orwell clearly states his displeasure with colonial Britain. I have not read other Orwell’s novels yet, except The Animal Farm ( 3 stars ). This is my first time to have read one of his essays. I have learned a lot from Orwell’s writing styles. First, I liked the way he writes. I have tried to imitate other writers’ writing styles, but reading this one gave me the epiphany that I do not need to sound intellectual: I can write a simple essay but naturally moving. Second, writing is an instrument for making a big difference to social issues. Besides, we do not need to wish that we were genius. I believe we can learn how to write skillfully. It is a matter of practice and effort at will.

  • Jenni
    2018-12-27 04:07

    My dad, who is in China, shared a picture he took of an elephant... grand creatures which are ugly in a beautiful sort of way. Along with the photo, Dad suggested reading Orwell's Shooting an Elephant "to further our education." It is a short essay written about a personal experience by Orwell. He is a police officer in Burma caught in the middle of a triangle of contempt: against the natives who resent the oppressive reign of the British and thus mock Orwell, against the British for their tyranny and against himself for his struggle of conscience versus reputation. Orwell honestly exposes his weakness and in just a short story teaches us about the evils of imperialism, the loss of freedom, resentment, prejudice and decision-making. Orwell gives enough foreshadowing to predict the outcome, but it still was disturbing. It roused emotion. But then, that is the sign of good story / writer, isn't it?

  • umberto
    2019-01-18 22:17

    I always find reading George Orwell's essays pleasurable, therefore, it's my joy to come across this paperback a few years ago in a bookstore in BKK. I read each voraciously and wondered why he wrote so well, so superbly that he should deserve to be honored as a writer with fantastic writing style. I'm sorry I don't have this book nearby (it's been lent to my student to read during her summer holidays since last week), however, these are my favorites: 1) Why I Write, 2) Bookshop Memories, 3) Confessions of a Book Reviewer, 4) Such, Such Were the Joys, etc.

  • Michael
    2018-12-29 06:18

    i love george orwell. one of the most intelligent authors ever, he also has a profound insight into human nature. i would recommend anything he has written. this is a particularly short read but definitely worthwhile. this was based on something that happened to him early on and likely is what jaded him to people. or maybe i am projecting and this is what jaded me to people. what i took from this is, society is full of a-holes.

  • Vasil Kolev
    2018-12-24 02:49

    This was insanely good.One thing that Orwell does and seems to be the best at is the clarity. He goes on, explains the premise, then gets to the point and the point is as clear as possible. The book is definitely worth reading, as the stuff in it is still relevant now.And, Orwell might be the only author who can start an essay with the common toad and make such a good point on living.

  • Madhulika Liddle
    2018-12-23 23:13

    I will admit I began reading this book not just because it was by George Orwell—an author for whom I have the greatest respect—but also because the title essay was one I remembered as having had to study years ago, in school. Shooting an Elephant, like the essay that immediately follows it—A Hanging—is a memoir from Orwell’s days as a British civil servant in Burma. On its surface, a straightforward account of a dramatic (in greater or lesser degree, depending upon which of these two essays you’re looking at) incident. Deeper down, something more: a reflection of what it means to be part of a system one does not fully identify with, the conflict between humanism and professional duty, between heart and head. That contrast, that dualism, the variety of thought, is something that marks, to some extent or the other, all eighteen essays in this book. These cover a widely differing range of topics. In Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool, for instance, Orwell analyzes Tolstoy’s criticism of Shakespeare’s King Lear; in Politics vs. Literature—An examination of Gulliver’s travels, Politics and the English Language, The Prevention of Literature, Confessions of a Book Reviewer and Books vs Cigarettes, Orwell is in territory that most people would expect of a writer of his calibre: discussing books and literature from different angles and perspectives. As the man who wrote brilliantly political novels like 1984 and Animal Farm, too, he’s on expected ground in essays about politics and political figures, such as Second Thoughts on James Burnham and Reflections on Gandhi. In all of these, Orwell comes across as highly intelligent, humanistic, liberal and immensely knowledgeable. In contrast to these more or less expected, ‘serious’ essays on politics and literature, there are somewhat lighter—but not frivolous, never irrelevant or merely entertaining—essays on everything from the importance of trees to the coming of spring, what constitutes a ‘good murder’ in press reporting, how sports relates to politics, and so on. These, all towards the end of the book, are much shorter than the earlier, more erudite essays. Like the earlier ones, however, they too reveal a good deal about the essayist: Orwell comes across not just as the politically upright liberal that he was, but also a man who is at one with nature, who has a sense of humour, and who—by the confession of what he imagined America to be (based largely on what he read as a child, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, etc)—is also much like the rest of us. The earlier essays I found enlightening and impressive; the later ones I found enjoyable and much more personal, yet as insightful as the earlier ones. Highly recommended, whether you’re a reader, a writer, or both.

  • Julia Leporace
    2018-12-27 05:13

    "For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically--and secretly, of course--I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters."

  • Jowayria Rahal
    2019-01-06 04:51

    For a period of about 5 years, George Orwell - the anti-imperialist writer- held the position of Assistant Superintendent in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma where he possibly was involved in a situation akin to that of the essay's narrator. Written in the first person, the essay describes the experience of an English police officer- possibly Orwell himself- who was obliged by his own fear of being judged to shoot an elephant. Becausea white man's freedom is destroyed when he turns tyrantas Orwell suggests in his essay, the narrator -who was expected by the locals to finish the job in no time- does so against his better judgement. Although he doesn't want to kill the elephant, the narrator feels forced by the locals who gathered to see the act being carried out. Unable to kill the 'great beast' , he shoots it numerous times to cripple it and deprive it of its strength. Lacking the emotional abilities to see the animal suffer more, the narrator leaves the scene and learns later that it was stripped to the bones within an hour or so by the natives. More than just a story of a man who acted against his will, this essay promotes the belief that imperialism does nothing but destroy both the conquered and the conqueror's human qualities that distinguish us -humans- from other species."I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind." the narrator recognizes that his will is not his own anymore and thus, he"had got to shoot the elephant" . So, in his pursuit to oppress the Burmese, he tames his own freedom. I believe that Orwell's essay is but a reflection of what many of us go through on a daily basis; doing the morally right thing when the whole world forces us to conform. Everyday life throws all kinds of dilemmas on our way ! The amazing Ralph Waldo Emerson knew this to be true when he declared that “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Orwell's bravery to confess that he obeyed his inner demons in a world characterized by disorder and chaos is praiseworthy !

  • Polytimi
    2019-01-22 23:08

    "When the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys.He becomes a sort of hollow,posing dummy,the conventional figure of a sahib.For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to impress the "natives",and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of him.He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it."The man who becomes a tyrant has already signed and agreed with the terms of the condemnation of his freedom,at least in a spiritual, esoteric way. After that, the face just grows so as he will lose every speck of a more valuable inner self.It is the alienation from ourselves in its zenith. A simple story from which someone can be taught so many things. It's amazing the sensitiveness with which he describes the shooting and death of the elephant.It was as if I felt my knees trembling from an imaginary shooting in my own brain as well.:(

  • Maryam
    2019-01-09 04:50

    This is about to destROy my goodreads challenge aesthetics because the cover picture is so ugly.A really interesting essay collection. I think you can see alot of his inspirations behind his novels like 1984 and Animal Farm in his essays. Some essays I didn't particularly care for like the Charles Dickens one, I thought it was really boring and slowed down my reading a lot:)). Books vs Cigarettes, reflections on Ghandi, shooting an elephant, and looking back on the spanish war were my favourite.

  • miakowsky
    2019-01-04 06:16

    I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventionalized figure of a sahib

  • Huyen Chip
    2019-01-17 23:02

    This collection of essays is crucial in understanding George Orwell's view on writing, politics, education, and life in general. It helped me understand why he wrote what he wrote.

  • Христо Блажев
    2018-12-23 00:07

    Отглас от друго време с есета на Оруел: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/d...Сборници с есета рядко излизат у нас, затова и се зарадвах да видя корицата на “Да застреляш слон” на Джордж Оруел. Самият сборник е калейдоскоп от текстове по какви ли не теми, сред които има два откровено възскучни – но за сметка на това дълги – литературни анализа на творбчеството на Дикенс и Суифт, но пък то другата страна на везната има прекрасни текстове, посветени на писането и четенето. Лично аз очаквах повече политика по тия страници, но това си е заблуда заради името на автора и двете книги, с които е основно известен. Тези текстове са писани преди излизането на “1984″ през 1948 г., но в някои от тях се съдържат податките за нея. Извадих доста чудесни цитати, които представят жизненото чувство за хумор на Оруел и ясната му позиция по демоните на неговото – и нашето – време.Издателство ФАМАhttp://knigolandia.info/book-review/d...

  • Niki Karagyozov
    2018-12-27 06:11

    Заради тази книга чувствам Оруел като най-близък приятел. Толкова проницателни разсъждения, че и днес, 70-80 години по-късно, са не просто актуални, а напредничави. Както измиването на прозорците подобрява гледката, така и всеки следващ ред от есетата на Оруел разкрива в детайли света (на теми като войната, литературата, политиката, природата, образованието и пр.). Може да тръгне от краставата жаба и да развие великолепен разказ за ценностите, политическата система и себепознанието. Без капка чудене - препоръчвам!

  • Dimple
    2018-12-30 01:53

    Falling For Mr. Blair.

  • Sam Quixote
    2018-12-24 23:17

    George Orwell is best remembered for his dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four and allegorical novella Animal Farm but he was also an extremely gifted essayist. Shooting an Elephant collects some of his finest essays (along with some less than sparkling ones). The Spike and How The Poor Die are good accompaniments to his excellent work of reportage, Down and Out in Paris and London, focusing on the lives of tramps and their horrific treatment in the dingiest of hospitals (which he experienced first-hand). Such, Such Were the Joys is one of his most famous essays, a vividly-recalled memoir of his time at St Cyprian’s, a private Edwardian school he won a scholarship to. He’s bullied by an older boy, beaten by the headmaster, “Sambo”, and threatened with violence by the headmaster’s wife, “Flip”, after he wets the bed on his first night – she’ll sic the Sixth Form boys onto him if he doesn’t stop with that (yikes)! It’s also a critique of a teaching style that places emphasis on recitation of facts over understanding of them, obfuscating actual knowledge and learning.Some of the best essays focus on Orwell’s love of literature. Why I Write is short but succinct and inspiring and Politics v Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels is an informative review of Jonathan Swift’s politics and worldview through the prism of his best known work. Politics and the English Language shows a canny understanding of the nuances of language and how it can be manipulated: “Political language - and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” In The Prevention of Literature he underlines how art cannot exist in a regime that censors freedom of thought: “To write in plain, vigorous language one has to think fearlessly, and if one thinks fearlessly one cannot be politically orthodox”.There are some less weighty essays mixed in here too that are especially fun if you’re a bibliophile like me. Bookshop Memories recalls Orwell’s time working in a bookshop and the batty customers he dealt with; Good Bad Books celebrates the guilty pleasure of reading trashy novels; and Confessions of a Book Reviewer paints a very accurate picture of being a professional book reviewer (most of which still rings true today). In Defence of English Cooking is also a charming appraisal of the uniqueness of English cuisine which continues to enjoy some pretty antiquated notions from foreigners.Not all the essays are brilliant though. Shooting an Elephant is an essay where Orwell, as a young man in Burma, had to shoot a rampaging elephant which is surprisingly dull to read about. Some Thoughts on the Common Toad just makes some mundane observations on springtime, My Country Right Or Left is Orwell drearily stating that he loves his country whichever political party is in power, and Books v Cigarettes is Orwell pedantically working out the cost of buying books over more expensive habits like cigarettes, beer and gambling for working class people (they must read more!! yawn). Some essays are instantly forgettable like Boys’ Weeklies, The Sporting Spirit, and Looking Back on the Spanish War (which ends with an awful poem - Orwell may have been a helluva novelist and essayist but a great poet he was not). Others are interminably long like his essay on Charles Dickens (ironically, one of his critiques of Dickens is that he takes an age to say something quite simple!) but in every one he manages to say at least one thing that’s thoughtful and interesting. I’ve highlighted some of the essays that stood out for me and said a little something about them but this summary really doesn’t do them justice. The majority of the essays are really great and are bursting with layers of intelligence and wit that, despite communicating complex, nuanced ideas, are written in a clear, fresh and accessible style. Orwell was a sharp observer and brilliant thinker who knew how to put across his ideas impeccably through the written word. A number of Orwell’s novels are worth reading for anyone but I’d also urge those same readers not to forget his essays where you can see him develop the ideas that would become immortalised in his fiction as well as gain a strong impression of the author himself and the fascinating times he lived in.

  • Philip
    2019-01-17 06:01

    I have like... 6 pages of notes on this book. It was my pick for the Jordabecker Book Club and I think it was a good choice. We hadn't done a book of essays and we weren't sure how it would go, but it went well. If one particular essay didn't grip us, perhaps another would. I think we all found something we could relate to.I read "Shooting an Elephant" out loud to my 7th grade class. It ties in wonderfully with the standards. Here you go, I pulled a couple from The Indiana Dept of Education. Go ahead and click on it. For real. Then check the 7th grade box and the Social Studies box. Expand the standards and tell me how I should teach those in 180 45 minute classes. (I think I'm doing a pretty d*** good job by the way.) Anyway, here are the 2. Sorry about the tirade.7.1.17 Exploration, Conquest and Post-Colonial States: 1500 to the Present. Describe the impact of industrialization, urbanization and globalization in post-colonial South Africa, India, Japan, China and Kenya. (Core Standard) 7.1.18 Exploration, Conquest and Post-Colonial States: 1500 to the Present. Identify and describe recent conflicts and political issues between nations or cultural groups. (Core Standard) Example: Sudan (Darfur) and North and South Korea I realize "Shooting an Elephant" deals with Burma and not India, but it's still the British Raj and we watch a bunch of Gandhi excerpts.Anyway, that essay alone is platinum. Not to over-hype it, but it is. The British Empire dying, the elephant ambiguously representing both the Empire, and Burmese culture at the same time. Dang it's good. I read it out loud to the kids and we discuss it. Many of them understand the different levels after a little discussion, and I'll spoon-feed those that don't.But there's other gold in this book as well. I found "A Hanging" particularly moving and troubling.As someone who loves to read and promote literacy I loved "Why I Write," "Bookshop Memories," and "Confessions of a Book Reviewer." (Although, it made me wonder how often I'm duped into reading books that blow. But it also made me glad to review books for fun and personal intellectual expanse rather than for money.)I was disappointed in some of the essays though. With a title like, "Good Bad Books" you'd think you couldn't go wrong, but it was SOOOOO dated. Who knows? Maybe 75 years from now when somebody comes across Stephanie Meyer they'll have to (the 75 years in the future equivalent of)google the reference.The political writings were fun, and I could often see kindling for the great fires of 1984 and Animal Farm in them."How the Poor Die" was moving, but not as moving as "A Hanging." Our book club also read For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway, so it reading, "Looking Back on the Spanish War" was a nice connection. I love it when that happens at book clubs.One last thing before this yeti of a review gets too far out of hand, Orwell argues in "The Sporting Spirit" that international organized sports are, contrary to what the Olympics and world cup people tell you, a bad institution. I'm sure most everyone would be quick to jump in and disagree. We've been programmed that way I guess. But bring up a one Diego Maradonna to any decent English Football fan and see if it breeds goodwill. I had the guys listen to The Business Handball and Maradona during book club at Starbucks to drive the point home.