2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Shooting a Dog: Imperialist Pressure and Masculinity in George Orwell's Burmese Literature


Cameron P. Clogston♦
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In two of his works concerning British imperialism in Burma—the essay “Shooting an Elephant” and the novel Burmese Days—George Orwell concludes the story with the protagonist shooting and killing an animal. In both instances, the character is pressured into this action: In “Shooting an Elephant” the protagonist is motivated by the pressure from the crowd of natives behind him, while in Burmese Days the protagonist is motivated by the disdain that his fellow British—particularly Elizabeth Lackersteen—have for him. In this paper, I will explore how Orwell uses these two conflicting pressures—native and peer—to create a damning portrayal of the effect of British imperialism on those imperialist men, as well as his use of these two stories’ climaxes of elephanticide and canicide as a means of those imperialist protagonists attempting to grasp some power of their own from the situation.

Keywords: George Orwell, Postcolonial, Burmese Days, Shooting an Elephant, Postcolonialism

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 301-1
Location: MG 1000
Time: 1:00

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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