George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant

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George Orwell is a critically acclaimed author whose stories explore the different aspects of dystopia that exist in the world. Orwell’s main protagonist, a police officer serving in Burma, is ordered to shoot and thereby kill an elephant that has displayed violent instincts and is thus unable to survive among humans (Orwell, 34). Orwell beautifully describes the mental, legal, and ethical complexities that arise within the police officer’s head. The essay employs descriptive tools to reinforce the conundrum that the police officer is placed in, causing the reader to empathize with the story ever more. The narrative also utilizes metaphors, similes, and other contrasting techniques to indirectly converse on the topic of imperialism, that is often shied upon by many a writer as it often sparks controversial and heated debate. Orwell uses the policeman and the elephant to allude to the atrocities committed by the British Empire through imperialism and goes on to shun it, citing that any country which invades and rules over another, similarly loses its freedom.

Judith Ortiz’s The Myth of the Latin Woman

Judith Ortiz in The Myth of the Latin Woman, delves into what it is like living as a Puerto Rican Immigrant in the U.S. in her narrative, Ortiz employs a first person account of her life, thereby availing the reader to a firsthand account of the highs and lows of her life (Cohen, 22). On particular motif that Ortiz is successfully able to convey is that of cultural divergence amongst people of different ethnicities. Ortiz offers vivid and detailed accounts of prejudice she had to endure as a result of this cultural rift, one which made her feel marooned in the states as she could not connect with people. Reading through Ortiz’s discourse, one is immersed in her world, in her journey, and in the struggles that she faces along the way. Ortiz uses powerful linguistic techniques to bring to light her experiences, most of which leave the audience reeling in pain at the thought of living in a society that persecutes culture instead of celebrating it. By giving her account of ethnic difference and how minority groups are treated in America, Ortiz is effectively able to not only convey her message concerning the dangers of ethnic prejudice and discrimination but also enables the reader to experience the same.

Brent Staples’ Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space

In the narrative, Brent Staples brings to light the struggles that he had to face being a tall black man working in journalism, which was a field predominately dominated by white men. Chief among his experiences were those of racial prejudice and prosecution. Staples employs the use of literary devices such as descriptive writing and first person account to extenuate the extent to which he was perceived by the society in which he lived. Staples notes that due to his giant stature, and the color of his skin, he was subject to various forms of racial profiling and prejudice (Staples, 18). Reading the narrative one finds oneself woken to the pervasive nature by which ethnic identity had affected our community and the means by which it manifests itself. Furthermore, Staples describes the manner in which his black skin precluded him from engaging with some whites, particularly those who saw ethnicity, not as something to be celebrated, but instead, only viewed it as a threat. In Just Walk on By, the author constantly offers the reader contrast and comparison between the life of a white person and that of a black individual in the States, a difference that is glaring and is resultant from racial profiling, prejudice, and discrimination.

Deborah Rhode’s Why looks are the Last Bastion of Discrimination

Rhode, in her article in the Washington Post, delves into the phenomenon that is discrimination based on how a person looks instead of the person they are. To convince the reader of her stance about such acts, she first delves into the prevalence of the discrimination based on appearance in the 19th century, why it was so rampant at the time, and consequently, what has been done about it, and what is still to be done. Rhodes uses past legal cases as a foundation for her argument, which she develops gradually, clearly and concisely. For instance, Rhodes points out the obese woman who had applied for a job as a bus driver in 1944 Texas but was denied the opportunity because she ‘waddled when she walked’ (Rhode, 1). She further offers evidence of discrimination contingent on an appearance by citing the 2005 case involving a ‘Borgata Babe’ cocktail waitress who gained weight following the onset of a thyroid condition and was subsequently let go. According to the hotel, their waitress staff was subject to strict rules regarding their appearance, chief among them, the fact that they were not allowed to become obese, or even have bigger waistlines. If this happened, then management had a right to fire said individual, which as Rhodes points out, is Ludacris and discriminatory. Through such proof, Rhodes can adequately point out the detrimental effects of appearance based discrimination.

Works Cited

Cohen, Samuel S. 50 Essays. 1st ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.

Orwell, George, and Jeremy Paxman. Shooting an Elephant. 1st ed., London, Penguin Classics,2009.

Rhode, Deborah L. “Why Looks Are the Last Bastion of Discrimination.”Washingtonpost.Com,2017,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2010/05/20/AR2010052002298.html.

Staples, Brent. Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space. 1sted., 1986.

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