RE: RARA-AVIS: GEORGE ORWELL and shooting at Dumbo/Horton

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 27 Nov 2002

Steven wrote: I read that one in A COLLECTION OF ESSAYS. Definitely worth your finding and reading again. One thing Orwell does have in common with the hard boiled greats is that he packs a lot of wallop (or is it whallop?) into a punch. He uses few words (and seemingly just the right ones) to express a lot of ideas. The elephant story covers imperialism, growing up, psychological state of the shooter, ditto the watchers, and a host of other items in just a few pages.

*********** I remember how calm and matter-of-fact the elephant essay was, and I thought, "There's a huge raving killer elephant loose, dude! Get excited!" I think the Brits invented the device of calm understatement in the face of all hell breaking loose, and they've never been equalled. Rankin's Rebus gets just slightly flustered when he loses his girlfriend, his best friend is beaten into a coma, his brother is kidnapped, he's threatened by organized crime, and he gets thrown off the force. It just don't get no better.


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