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Imperialism: A State Of Powerlessness

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George Orwell's essay 'Shooting an Elephant' shows how imperialism makes the Burmese and the British powerless. In 'Shooting an Elephant' the British have colonized India. The Europeans' powerlessness is seen through George Orwell, a sub-divisional police officer, and the Indians' powerlessness is seen through their lack of control in political and economic aspects. Countries in an imperial relationship do not have as much power as they believe.
The British lack of power is seen through Europeans living among the Burmese. Orwell notes that ' . . . if a European woman went through the bazaars alone somebody would probably spit beetle juice over her dress'. The British have little control over the Burmese harassment and can do nothing about the fact that Burmans are treating their women with no respect. The British have tenuous control over the Indians. If a revolt were to occur in India, then only the British in India would suffer, most likely with their lives. The British might win the battle in the long run, but there would be a great number of British casualties in India before the British attacked from Great Britain. The British in India know that they will suffer if they push the Indians too far. This fact is why the British do not do anything when the Indians harass them. Orwell's lack of power, as an authority figure, is seen when he says, 'When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter'. He can do nothing about the Burmans harassment. He also says the Burmans laugh and 'jeer' at him all day long. He can do nothing because there are so many Indians and so few British in India. Orwell says, 'No one had the guts to raise a riot, . . .'. None of the Burmans needed to riot because the British were taking their verbal abuses and not doing anything to stop the harassment.
Orwell's lack of power is also seen in the scene with the elephant. The elephant is on a rampage through the Burmans' town. Orwell is called on to handle the matter. The elephant has destroyed a hut and killed a Burman or 'collie', as the British call them. The elephant is grazing in a field when Orwell first sees it. He had gotten a gun to protect himself from the elephant when he saw the dead Burman, but now there is no need to kill the elephant because he was not disturbing anything. The Burmans become excited because they think Orwell is going to kill ...

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Keywords: imperialist powers meaning, imperialism stages, imperialism in poland, imperialistinis karas

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