This analysis of “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell, explores the story’s plot structure, which is enhanced by creative elements such as an exposition that mostly conveys the narrator’s thoughts, as well as through a brief climax followed by an anti-climax as the shooting of the elephant takes longer than expected.
Though the story features only one important character in the traditional sense (the narrator), the locals may also be regarded as a collective character. The narrator is the main character and stands out through his conflicted perspective on the events. The collective character of the locals help readers better understand the setting and the narrator’s relationship with his surroundings.
The setting of the story is Burma (today's Myanmar) when it was a British colony. The social setting looks at negative aspects of the British Empire and its impact on the colonies, while also raising questions about animal cruelty, inequality, and cultural differences.
The story has a first-person narrator who is also the main character. The events only show his point of view, which means that he could be unreliable and that he has limited knowledge on other characters.
The language of the story is quite descriptive. Metaphors and similes create interesting association concerning the elephant which is a key symbol in the story.