Choice of words

Most of the story “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell is written in the past tense to suggest the events have already happened, and the story represents the narrator's recollection of them. On occasion, the narrator uses present tense to convey his thoughts: “I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy…” . In this case, the narrator also uses the present tense to convey what he believes is a universal rule.

Direct speech is not used at all; the plot is conveyed as the narrator’s account of past events. However, there is one instance of free indirect speech: “Would I please come and do something about it?” . The narrator presents the conversation he had on the phone with a sub-inspector from the other part of the town. The effect of the language device is that it creates humour because the narrator does not really know what to do about the elephant situa...

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