Differences between “The Money” and “Shooting an Elephant”





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Differences between “The Money” and “Shooting an Elephant”

“The Money” and “Shooting an Elephant” are essays regarding the social life during the early era where racism, colonialism, and imperialism existed. There exist a variety of differences in both writings as the authors tend to bring out different themes based on the racial grounds. “The Money” by Junot Diaz is a story of how the author lived in a socially unstable community where theft and violence was the order of the day as well as poverty that at a significant extent struck his family. On the other side, “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell is an essay elaborating the life of a white police officer who has been placed at the Indian society where he faced lots of challenges and pressure from both his master as well the local community as they were against imperialism. In this paper, the differences between “The Money” and “Shooting an Elephant” essays are discussed in a profound extent with regards to the social norms and cultural disparities depicted by the authors.

The first difference between the two essays regards their setting. Diaz has set the article “The Money” in an American ghetto where the low-class immigrants lived in a less spacious apartment. While on the other hand the “Shooting an Elephant” is set in an Indian state where the natives have been subjected to imperialism by the European. In his essay, Diaz depicts social degradation where the people live in a devastating community where the essential amenities are not well constructed, and the natives have inadequate resources (Díaz, page 2). Orwell in his writing postulates a local community that is under the colonial rule a thing which they are against, and the act of living in bamboo huts signifies that they belonged to the lower social class.

Considering the “The Money” essay the author narrates his family state of well-being where his mother struggles to sustain her children’s requirements as well as that of their grandparents who at one way or another were not financially stable. The act of robbers breaking into their apartment and stealing the narrator’s mother pennies left them with deep sorrow even if that was the norm in the portrayed society. People live in suspense as one is unaware of what might take place in the next minute or what the criminals might take from you. The act of the narrator’s friend sneaking in the family’s apartment, as well as the narrator getting in their house and making his mother’s money back, suggests that all the people are used to unethical issues. The narrator is suspicious of the police officer arresting him in his action of avenging, but it is opposite to his expectations. This postulates that the primary cause of moral values deprivation is poverty due to work inefficiency where the victims tend to take advantage of any small opportunity to commit robbery. The case is different from Orwell’s essay which dramatically depicts locals’ political rights being capsized by the white colonists.

On the other hand, the plot of the essay “Shooting an Elephant” is developed through the degrading lifestyle of colonial police in the Indian community. The white officer always feels insecure as he would frequently face victimization and insults from the yellow natives in the course of his work. They were always aggressive on seeing him, but he had no alternative apart from adhering to the situation. The story comes to a climax as the tame elephant get wild during its “must” while its owner is away and it ends up killing local Indian as well as destroying people’s properties. The coup is pressured by the vast crowd and ends up killing the animal which is against the colonial rules as they are much interested in the resources of the land than the occupants. After the killing the elephant he argues that he committed the action after its act of murdering the man, but the empires were furious stating that the elephant was precious than the human life. In his essay, the author tries to show how inhumane the colonialists were during the imperialism period as well as how the natives’ civil rights were deprived.

Furthermore, at the end of the essay, Orwell portrays the society as economically devastated as after the demise of the elephant the public was happy and celebrated feeding on the animal’s meat (Orwell, page 1). It signifies that it is that they did not have the tools and capability of killing the elephant as they would have done it earlier. The act of community not affording meat portrays poverty in the society that has been impacted by the imperialist who tends to exploit all the resources in the society for their benefits, and they did not give back. At the end of the essay “The money,” the author postulates social insecurity in the region as no one cared even about the narrator sneaking into his friend’s house to get back the money. Also, after the friend declared at the pool that his home was broken into and all the savings stole, no one care and people just minded on their business as that was an ordinary people.

As discussed above, both the authors portray significant differences regarding the communities depicted. Social instability is the dominant theme in the essay “The Money” by Diaz and economic deprivation being the main topic in writing “Shooting an Elephant” by Orwell. They are essential in keeping the historical context during the early decades when civil rights were not equally granted in the society.


Díaz, Junot. “The money.” The New Yorker (2011): 76.

Orwell, George. Shooting an elephant. New Canadian Library, 2016.