Narrator and point of view

“Shooting an Elephant” is a first-person narration which follows the point of view of the narrator – who is also the main character. Given that the author, George Orwell, also worked in Burma as a police officer, the story is probably inspired by his experiences there. However, there is no evidence that the event concerning the elephant really happened, so many elements of the story could also be entirely fictional.

The use of the first-person narrator makes the story more authentic and allows readers to better understand him as a character. The presence of the first-person narrator is signalled through the use of the personal pronoun “I” which also helps stir the readers’ curiosity when it comes to the events that are about to be narrated: “In Moulmein, in Lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.”

The unfolding events are rendered through the narrator’s point of view, and he has a limited knowledge of the other characters. Instead, the narrator conveys only what he hears and notices, and draws conclusio...

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