Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shooting an Elephant

Yesterday we read a short essay by George Orwell: Shooting an Elephant.

If you haven't read it, give it a shot.  Read it.  If you were absent, or if you're an adult reading along on the blog with your child or charge: read it.

(Ok, ok... technically, I can't force you to read the thing... but again... it's very good.)

It's a non-fiction story, and it ties in with a lot of what we've talked about thus far in the school year: exploration,  imperialism, colonization, globalization, tyranny, cultural borrowing, cultural diffusion, the loss of culture, ethnicity, ethnocentrism... and probably a dozen things that I can't think of right now off the top of my head.

As I said, it's non-fiction, but it also has elements of symbolism - this, I believe, is why Orwell wrote it.


If you've already read it, or don't care if it gets spoiled, click "Read more" to continue...

I imagine Orwell represents all British.  And the elephant represents the Burmese culture.  When Orwell shot the elephant, it took the elephant a long, LONG time to die.  And it suffered.

When Orwell started out, he thought he was doing the right thing.  He thought he was helping.  When the British started creating their empire, they thought they were helping in the progression of the world.

When Orwell went to Burma, he did not go there to destroy someone's culture.  And when he went after the elephant, he had no intention of shooting it.

The question, of course is: did Orwell have to shoot the elephant?

Discuss the essay with an adult, and write down 3 thoughts from that discussion on a scrap piece of paper.  When you're done, have the adult sign the piece of paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

The following students said they would check the blog if I posted their picture to it:  BAM!!!

If for some reason you think the picture is hideous and you want me to take it down, just say the word and it's gone.   ...Make sure you're doing the extra credit though, it's almost the end of the marking period.

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