“Shooting an elephant” is autobiography of Orwell’s life and the duty he experienced as a police officer in a British colony in Burma. In this story, the writer tells us about how the British were viewed as intruders and how it felt to execute orders without wanting to do so. In the preface of “Animal farm”, we can see more obvious and relevant fact about how hard it was to publish the book and the amount and the gravity of censorship that was present when the Catholic Church, wealthy businessmen and the government were not agreeing with the contents of the press.
This preface, I think, shows us more about how totalitarianism worked than the story “Shooting an elephant”. “Shooting an elephant” there are not many facts or mentions about the views that Orwell had on totalitarianism as it more of a story and it uses many figures of speech such as emotional texts and the mode of writing is very descriptive. This can be seen when Orwell describes how the elephant was slowly dying “He was breathing very rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great mound of a side painfully rising and falling.
His mouth was wide open… ” Orwell didn’t like the imperial job he was having and this can also be seen from his writing “As for the job i was doing, i hated it more bitterly than i can perhaps make clear”. Taking this text and comparing it to the preface we can see how the preface has more strengths in showing the totalitarianism regime than “Shooting an elephant”.
The preface that Orwell wrote about the fable “Animal farm” is showing us very clearly and understandable how totalitarianism worked and the method of writing this is argumentative and backed up with facts unlike “Shooting and elephant” that has very little to almost no fact that can checked or backed up. We can see the political fear that was almost omnipresent in the British government at the time. Orwell was rejected by 4 publishers. Why ? Because they were afraid of referring to the Russian leaders as animals as the fable described them.
There is a quote that can show us how the censorship was also present and how the government was controlling the press. “One publisher actually started by accepting the book, but after making the preliminary arrangements he decided to consult the Ministry of Information, who appear to have warned him, or at any rate strongly advised him, against publishing it”. Trotsky was seen by Soviet Russia as an enemy and the British were aware of this and they did everything possible not to mention Trotsky in any press. the BBC celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Red Army without mentioning Trotsky”. At the time USSR was allied with Great Britain and insulting or talking bad about the USSR in the British press would mean eventual conflicts and cooling of relations in between the two. I think that “Shooting an elephant” is not such a good example of showing us how much of an impact totalitarianism had at the time when being compared to the preface which is on the other hand so much clearer and straight forward.
The preface is supported by relevant facts and with direct linking to the present problems at the time. “Shooting an elephant” is a dramatic story with a strong sad message by containing so much imagery and description. In my opinion the preface is the best example of showing us how totalitarianism worked and the censorship and the fear of conflict in between powers. The story was a piece of dramatic entertainment for the audience.