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Textaufgabe: Analysis Sachtext


Analyse possible causes of identity crises as addressed in the text and in ONE of the following stories (One language- Many Voices):

  • Shooting an Elephant (police officer)
  • The Second Hut (Major Carruthers)
  •  A Meeting in the Dark (John)
  • A Pair of Jeans (Miriam)


Identity crisis is a widespread topic. It can not only affect a single person but also a whole nation.

As shown in the text the British fail to deal with their past individually or collectively. This is demonstrated by the example of the British Empire. Everybody seems to concentrate on the negative sides only. As one’s past is essential for the present day situation, people compensate deficits by focusing on national hypes instead (e.g. Jubilee, Olympics). There is a common inability and unwillingness to communicate openly. But identity crisis surface at the moment of direct confrontation (e.g. Make Bradford British).

The police officer in the short story “Shooting an Elefant” fails to identify with the role he is expected to play as a representative of colonial power. He feels ashamed of imperialist exploitation but at the same time cannot disguise his hatred of the victims of his exploitation. Moreover he is unable to communicate his doubts about the imperial system with colleagues. But also his identity crisis surfaces at the moment of direct confrontation. When confronted with the Burmese people he must choose between acting against his will and conforming to the image of the strong colonial ruler.                                                                        

(198 words)

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