Shooting an Elephant
George Orwell set out 'to make political writing into an art', and to a wide extent this aim shaped the future of English literature - his descriptions of authoritarian regimes helped to form a new vocabulary that is fundamental to understanding totalitarianism. While 1984 and Animal Farm are amongst the most popular classic novels in the English language, this new series of Orwell's essays seeks to bring a wider selection of his writing on politics and literature to a new readership. Shooting an Elephant, the fifth in the Orwell's Essays series, tells the story of a police officer in Burma who is called upon to shoot an aggressive elephant. Thought to be loosely based on Orwell's own experiences in Burma, the tightly written essay weaves together fact and fiction indistinguishably, and leaves the reader contemplating the heavy topic of colonialism, with the words 'when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys' echoing from the page.