Shooting An Elephant By George Orwell

1670 Words7 Pages
During the last few weeks of my senior year of high school, I was hanging out with a few friends; it was late at night and we were on our way to a nearby park. Out of sheer boredom, we started playing pranks on one another. Some of the pranks were downright awful. In one instance, my friends decided to hide in a nearby bush and scare people who walked by. Initially, I was against pranking people, but reluctantly agreed because I did not want to be known as the “killjoy.” One of the people we scared, a five-year-old returning from the park, fell in a puddle and hurt his knee. We all ran away to avoid getting caught. Actually, I did not want to prank people; however, the social pressure of being with my friends in addition to my role in the group eventually caused me to comply. In “Shooting an Elephant,” by George Orwell, Orwell faced a similar dilemma. “Shooting an Elephant” is an essay that depicts Orwell’s conflictions about shooting a rampaging elephant while he served as an Imperial policeman in Burma during British colonial rule. In his essay, Orwell describes the difficult decision of whether or not to shoot the elephant and why he made his decision. Although he did not initially want to shoot the elephant, the social pressure of being surrounded by a crowd of Burmese natives encouraging him and his role as an Imperial policeman ultimately forced his hand. The concepts of social pressure and roles are studied in many different experiments and studies. Two prominent
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