Analysis Of Shooting An Elephant By George Orwell

727 WordsDec 7, 20173 Pages
George Orwell is an internationally acclaimed author that has been praised for his awareness of social injustice and opposition to totalitarianism. Although in his later life he realized some of his previous misdeeds when Orwell was a young man he served as a police officer in a British controlled Burma. The Burmese people at the time were rightfully scornful towards the Europeans; this includes the young Orwell. The time that Orwell spent in Burma was not all wasted, as it inspired him to come up with a story that questions human morality. Orwell wrote the short story “Shooting an Elephant” based on the experiences that he had when he was a young police officer in Burma. Orwell likely waited around a decade or so to write this story…show more content…
Orwell wrote this to show the effects that imperialism has on those being conquered and oppressed, as well as those who live under the empire. Later on in “Shooting an Elephant” Orwell finds himself in a situation where he has hunted down the elephant that killed a coolie. After finding the elephant a crowd of Burmese citizens has gathered to watch Orwell kill the elephant, as he brought a rifle with him to defend himself. Orwell started to feel pressured by the natives to kill the elephant, as the crowd watching him were anticipating him shooting it. At this point Orwell had a decision to make; does he kill the elephant to appease the crowd, or does he leave it alone because it is minding its own business? He eventually kills the elephant to appease the crowd, but it makes one wonder, did Orwell have a choice in the matter? Did the social pressure make Orwell do it, or did he consider it a part of his duty? I think that the social pressure is what made Orwell shoot the elephant. With a crowd of two thousand natives that Orwell was trying to appease (and possibly impress), he felt that the only way out was to shoot the elephant. The story tells us what can happen when someone feels cornered due to the entrapments of social pressure. If I was in Orwell's place I think that I would have shot the elephant as well. Sure, in my right mind I would not shoot the elephant; but one has to consider the situation at hand. Being surrounded by two
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