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Letter - Essay Example

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This is not a lack of guts-it is the painful acceptance of cruelly unfair conditions.
Despite your knowledge of the evils of Imperialism, you seem to resent the passive aggressiveness some expressed towards you or your fellow English men and women. You, with sole ownership of the guns and troops and government and law, dare to take exception to being tripped on a football field How much resentment would you have if foreigners come to you homeland and forced their morals and modes of behavior on you I am sure many of the Burmese had little better to do than jeer on street corners, as their job and leadership prospects were all but eliminated by their ethnicity. What opportunities outside of hand to mouth survival has imperialism left the Burmese That you were secretly on their side didn't stop you from guarding English prisons and keeping the unarmed populace in line.
As to the atrocity committed against the elephant, while it was peacefully eating grass and bothering no one, we both know you were wrong. However, I have a few problems with your reasoning. You claim to have been a puppet of the 'yellow faces' behind you and you suddenly cared about the opinions of those you policed, despite their hostility towards you. Somehow you, a representative of the empire, became a sahib and had to fulfill the expectations of the Burmese, brought so low that they wanted the elephant meat. I find that unlikely.
As a white man with the only gun before a crowd of two thousand, you showed your power to decide everything, from what should die to how it should be done, without consulting anyone. To portray yourself as a conduit for the crowd falsely mitigates your own responsibility in this. After staying on better ground, you aimed your rifle and pulled that trigger again and again, you fired three times until the elephant crashed onto the ground. Yet he wouldn't die, and your performance of Imperial might before all those eyes was failing. So you shot two more rounds into its pain-wracked chest, but it still refused to surrender its life. With no ammunition left, you left that animal, as you hadn't the strength to witness what you alone caused, or the feel the real humiliation of this native elephant's opposition and refusal to easily die at your whim.
When I was a child in Antigua my life was engulfed by England, despite the fact I lived thousands of miles from that place. I ate English breakfasts, wore English clothes and ate with the English fork and knife. All around me was the palpable admiration of our oppressors, from my father in his brown felt hat to my teacher asking us to study the map of England. Yet, despite how carefully I looked at that image of colors and lines, I could not replicate that map. I failed to comprehend that piece of geography, despite its imprint on my own homeland.
Yet your actions aided in the continuation of the British Imperial map-you assisted in the subjugation of a place you had no right to rule. No matter how you felt about it within your heart, it is your actions, and those of your countrymen, which so brutally stamped the entire world. I am grateful that you are beginning to question your own complicity in this horrible ideal, but I only wish you would finish the task and know your own place in these events.
Thank you for reading my ...Show more
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Summary

After reading your essay 'Shooting an Elephant,' I decided I must write you, to respond from my perspective as an Antiguan woman. Perhaps these generic black letters on white paper is the only way two people as different as we are can communicate, for I cannot but think I would still be another native in the crowd in person.
Letter
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