Comparative Analysis of the Essays
People often struggle with accepting their flaws, and more often people evaluate themselves and their beauty, as to how do they look to someone else. It is because they are afraid of being labeled as self-centered or they don't accept who they are. Has anyone ever thought how to be at peace with our internal flaws? The profound answer would be to accept who you are, including your physical flaws and gradually you would find peace with your internal ones. Most of the people struggle with internal flaws that include self-worth, self-worth, and confidence. Apart from having a bad perception of self, unanticipated choices also impact us profoundly. Sometimes we come across situations that make us feel that we are caught in the undertow. The situation when we come across two evils at the same time, and we have to deal with one of those evils. The situation when life doesn’t give us an option to choose between good and evil, but eviler and less evil. These are probably the situation when we face moral dilemmas. Owing to such moral dilemmas we sacrifice something of less importance for something more important to us.
The situations aforementioned were narrated by two different pieces of writings. Beauty: When the other dancer is the self by Alice Walker and Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell discuss the aforementioned situation i.e. when the choice is hard to make, when we face two evils at the same time. In this comparative essay, we will compare and contrast these two essays on different themes. In what way both the essays are similar to each other and what are the differences between both of the essays.
DiscussionThe very first thing that seems common between both of the essays is fear. Fear from what? George Orwell explained this fear by assuming that he would be ridiculed by the bystanders, if he doesn’t shoot elephant. The phrase used by Orwell here reads ‘that would never do’ signifies that it was only the bystanders who compelled him to shoot the elephant. The elephant was peaceful and would not trample him to death. However, Orwell used his fear of humiliation and perception of self to describe another important thing. He considered Burmese as an elephant who was standing helpless and bystanders as British Imperial power. He used his exposition to tell readers how Burmese are being ridiculed and humiliated by the Imperial forces, even though, the Burmese are peaceful. Orwell also explained how the soldiers chose between being ridiculed and oppressing the already oppressed people. Such a perception of self-put forward by Orwell also exemplifies the purpose of the colonial project that could be represented by the fear of being humiliated (Orwell). Orwell exemplifies by using the metaphor that, how an officer from the imperial police would keep aside the difference between right and wrong and play the role of oppressor. George Orwell, being an imperial officer assumed that being oppressor and tyrant would save his face in front of bystanders, he would be able to evade humiliation. So the fear discussed above was the distress of being ridiculed or humiliated.
The theme of self-perception is also visible in Alice Walker’s autobiography. She was an adorable kid, everybody applauded her, but her life changed when she lost one eye. Following the accident, she did not raise her head for six years. She lost her pride, she was scared that how people would see her and treat her, she was afraid if she would remain as adorable as she was before the accident. For six years she did not dare to stare anyone (Walker). The essay of Alice is walker is similar to Orwell's in the sense that they both had to make a choice, and they did. Both, Walker and Orwell were scared, however, the only thing that makes the difference here is time. The time when they had to bear this pain. Alice was a kid, and Orwell was a mature man. Another question arises here i.e. how could we compare the fears of a kid and a mature woman? Fear has got nothing to with age. They, Alice Walker and George Orwell, both came across false evidence about self and that appeared real to both of them. Another thing that seems common is, both lived in mental isolation. Orwell could not share his ideas of imperialism with his fellows, and Orwell could not share her how she felt of her beauty following the accident.
George Orwell's essay has a historical background whereas Alice Walker's work has the only personal background, and the events in the Alice Walker are arranged sporadically. George Orwell put the story in such a way that readers come across Orwell's personal experiences with a spice of British Imperialism (Orwell). On the contrary, Walker’s essay is only based upon the events of her personal life. However, the commonality I experienced in both of the essay is that they both represent a certain period of writers’ lives. As in the case of Walker, she remained in mental isolation until she had surgery for the removal of glop. Orwell’s essay also gives an account of his experiences for a certain period during the British Imperialism. Both the writers conveyed their message to readers in a splendid manner. Orwell conveyed to readers the brutality of British forces in Burma. Albeit, he detested the empire’s attitude towards Burma, he could not openly share his views of imperialism with his countrymen. The resentment of Orwell towards Burma people is also reflected in the essay. The resentment of Orwell is only due to the way Burma’s people perceive him. The Orwell, throughout the essay, remained tied to an internal conflict.
Alice Walker's also sporadically shares her story. She narrated herself being rejected at school. The story of Alice Walker is all about her transformation from a child that is praised and adored for her appearance before the accident, to a woman who was overshadowed by feelings of self-worthlessness caused by the accident (Walker). Alice narrated the journey of self-discovery. During this journey, she experienced self-destruction, harassment, and rejection. Such experiences developed self-destructive behavior and negative perception of self in Walker’s personality. She struggled to have some attention of others, however, her journey is not only about self-destruction, but also about self-construction. Alice, when grew and got her eye treated by the surgeon, started regaining her self-confidence and moved towards the construction of life. She strived to accept herself with all the flaws she had.
Both Orwell and Walker had something to be at odds with. Orwell experiences internal conflict and fights that. The internal conflict of Orwell spins around choosing between two evils. Walker, on the other hand, has negative self-perception, self-rejection, and external flaws to fight with. The scenario is different in both essays, one is a British Police officer and the other one is small girls who face mutilation at a very young age. Conflicts are also different in both essay but the thing that remains the same in both of the essays is; the choice which they had to make. In the case of Walker, she had to choose between evil and good, but Orwell is quite unlucky here because he could only choose one of the two evils he came across. George Orwell had a difficult judgment to make. The decision, that appeared trivial to him, had a profound impact on his life for years. He has to choose between the conscience and the people, whether he should please people or his conscience. Walker also had to choose between two things i.e. either to face the people with the flaw that mutilated her beauty or hide from people so they could not see the mutilated beauty.
Both Essays conveys a powerful message and both the essays have shown the struggle of the writers. One of the writers; George Orwell, tried to cope with internal conflict, fear of being humiliated. Alice Walker, on the other hand, had to cope with rejection at school, mutilated beauty, bullying, negative self-perception, and self-destruction. How an accident ruined his childhood, how she began to saw herself after the accident, all these things were splendidly recorded by her. George Orwell teaches us if we ever come across the two evils and we are to make a choice a then make a choice not to please the people but to please your conscience. Pleasing people would give you satisfaction temporarily, whereas pleasing your conscience would give you satisfaction for your whole. You would be at peace with you if you please your conscience.
Alice walker through her incredible writing taught the true meaning of beauty. She taught how to perceive yourself. The best thing in Alice Walker's essay is that she believes in seeing your beauty with your eye. We have accepted ourselves with our external flaws with patience and time. We have to realize who the other dancer is to overcome our problems. We have to learn to dance with ourselves.
Walker, Alice. Beauty: When the other dancer is the self. na, 1983.
Orwell, George. Shooting an elephant. Penguin UK, 2003.
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