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Imperialism Essay

This is an essay that I had to write for my sophomore english class. Our prompt was to write an essay about the nature of Imperialism that included textual evidence from "The Country of the Blind," by H.G. Wells; "Shooting an Elephant," by George Orwell; and "A Passage to India," by E.M. Forster.

Foreign Influence

In our every day life, one can expect to face many kinds of pressure and influences. Someone might face the constant threat of peer pressure, or maybe a boss or colleague is trying to force you into doing something. What ever this pressure might be they cause you to act in ways that you would never expect. Likewise, this is shown by the influences of imperialism in “The Country of the Blind,” “Shooting an Elephant,” and A Passage to India. The nature of Imperialism puts a heavy burden on the native civilians; however, it puts more pressure on the agents of imperialism which, from native influence and self-influence, causes them to act unnaturally.                       

 These actions can be seen in the British when they are manipulated by imperialism and act unnaturally. Both A Passage to India and “Shooting an Elephant” agree that the agents are merely puppets forced to do anything against their will because it is their job; they might not want to do it but are compelled to do so. In A Passage to India, Ronny overhears Dr. Aziz make an adverse remark towards Mr. Callendar while talking to Mrs. Moore. Ronny harshly judges Aziz because of his comment and feels it is necessary to tell Mr. Callendar. Mrs. Moore kindly informs us that “[Ronny] never used to judge people like this at home” (Forster 33), and that he was much kinder before he took his role as City Magistrate. Now that he is in a position of power, he is expected to be harsh to the native Indians because the British have to instill fear into the Indians. His mother’s comment suggests that Callendar is really pulling the strings. Similarly, in “Shooting an Elephant,” Orwell is faced with the problem of a rampaging elephant. Although he does not want to kill the humble beast, he has no choice in the matter. Being the sub-divisional police officer of his town in India, he was expected to handle these sorts of problems. He was expected to kill the elephant to show the natives the British had authority. When Orwell finally realized that he had to kill the elephant, “[He] perceived in [that] moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys” (Orwell para 7). In order for the British to maintain their control over India, they have to designate most of their time to keep the natives governed. Orwell’s actions are mainly based on the fact that he is one of the only British in a town of at least two thousand Indians. Many of his decisions are made because it is his job to do so. He has no free will when working for the government; as does Ronny. As City Magistrate, his job is to be unfair to the Indians because of British control, and to Mr. Callendar, Ronny is just a puppet. Callendar has total control over Ronny’s life and even Adela can sense it. Now that she is thinking about marrying Ronny, she begins to question whether her married life will be all its lived up to be. Adela doesn’t know if she will have the freedoms to be able to do what she wants instead of attending social gathering because of Ronny’s political position. She feels that because of “Ronny’s limitations and her own” (Forster 167) she won’t be able to see the real India; she also fears that she will become a new Mrs. Turton or a Mrs. Callendar.

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