Reading Response 5
Isak Dinesen shoots an iguana with the intention of using the skin for aesthetic beauty. She fails to understand the reality of what she is trying to do. I feel the unequal distribution of power between the gun and the iguana may represent humanity's domination over animals. Dinesen alludes to the negative impact of humans on planet earth and our parasitic nature when she quotes a saying of a hero in a book she had read as a child: "I have conquered them all, but I am standing amongst graves" (73). My own experience in "shooting an iguana" involves hunting and capturing sand crabs. Watching the surface of the shoreline for air holes, I would dig into the sand capturing crabs. I begged my parents to let me take the crabs home, but they explained to me the importance of natural habitat and the very realistic possibility that the transfer of the sand crabs to my home would kill them.
George Orwell is a policeman in the town of Moulmein in Lower Burma. After a rampant elephant kills a man, Orwell is in a position where he feels he has to kill the elephant. George Orwell does not want to shoot the elephant, yet the circumstance drives him to it. If I were in his position, I would not have given in to the pressure he feels to shoot the animal. I could not bring myself to shoot and kill an elephant despite similar circumstances. The presence of the Burmese natives gathered in a crowd, encircling and itching to strip the elephant of its meat and resources, would further my decision not to shoot the elephant.
Orwell and Dinesen both experience the similar experience of shooting an animal. Dinesen seeks out the iguana with the intention of shooting it, while Orwell is faced with the obstacle of making a decision based upon the circumstances. Dinesen situation differs in the sense that she shoots the iguana with her own intentions of using it for her own benefit. Orwell is in a position of authority and feels pressure to act based...