Marrakech

“Marrakech”, a journalistic essay, investigates western European colonial perception of the Maghreb and West African regions. Published in 1936 there are some clear links to “Shooting an Elephant”, published four years later.

Task: Compare and contrast the characterisation of people in “Marrakech” and “Shooting an Elephant”. Make sure you write the words and phrases that Orwell uses to describe the groups of people.  You might like to contrast these phrases to the representations of animals in “Marrakech”. 

Throughout the work, Orwell regularly describes how he is guilty of blindness, of not ‘seeing’ the local (poor) people. He groups himself with the British imperialists, and though he seems aware, appears paralysed to act. You’ll remember Tyrell described Orwell’s writing as both “sheer egoism” and “political purpose”, relative to Orwell’s own description in “Why I Write”.

What do you think? Is “Marrakech” simply egoism or is there a political motivation behind it? 

Now return to the first image in the piece. How might the line, “As the corpse went past the flies left the restaurant table in a cloud and rushed after it, but they came back a few minutes later” (29). Serve as a pivotal image that shapes the rest of the text.

Task: Take notes on how this line affects the tone, mood, and characterisation (amongst other aspects if you recognise them) of the text. 

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