Is society accounted for the actions of a single person? In the passage “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell I feel that Orwell was not justified for shooting the elephant but who was pressured into killing it by the power of the people. The people who George Orwell was supposed to be rulling, ruled him. Orwell did not want to shoot the elephant but the feelings he had and the way he was mistreated by the people of Burma he had no choice but to listen to them. “As soon as I saw the elephant perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him” When Orwell saw the elephant for the first time he knew that it wasn’t being dangerous, it was peacefully eating grass.
Orwell puts his own feelings aside to please the villagers and kills the elephant. Although Orwell thought he had legally done the right thing, he should have gone with his first instinct and observed the elephant in hopes that it was done with its rampage so that he could avoid killing the elephant, and if it weren’t, then Orwell would have been doing the right thing when shooting the elephant. George Orwell was a native of British India, 1903-1950. “George Orwell was a master of wit and satire, critically observing the politics of his time and prophetically envisioning the future. He devoted much of his life to various causes critical of capitalism, imperialism, fascism, and Stalinism, but in the end what he “most wanted to do is to make political writing into an art.“ (C.D Merriman) His real name was Eric Blair and George Orwell was his pen name.
But one day he is called out by another police officer in the town, because there is an aggressive elephant loose in the city. He starts walk true the city streets to find the elephant but as he walks he started thinking about what he would do when he finds the elephant, because the locals expect him to do the job, which is to shot the elephant. There is a law in Burma fore these sorts of situations. If you can’t control your animal it is in the right of the police to shot it. But this is not what he would prefer to do.
Analysis Essay “Shooting an Elephant” was written by Gorge Orwell in 1936, but published in 1950. The story is a short bio where he recollects an incident that he faced while serving in Burma. Orwell’s story is entitled “Shooting and Elephant,” however; it is not based on the simple fact that he shot an elephant, but it delves deeper into his emotionally and mental reasoning behind his decision to do so. In the story Orwell is called upon to handle a situation where an elephant is roaming loose in one of the villages. He is to go and see what is going on and to handle the situation as he sees fit.
The fact that John automatically accepts this answer is also a realistic stance. Instead of having hope or looking for other options, he opts to accept his dim fate. In another scene of the film, the character John Merrick is hiding in a corner while spectators are chasing him. As they draw closer, John shouts out “I am not an animal, I am a human being!” (The Elephant Man.) The fact that the crowd did not show compassion and still pursued him as an animal provides an example of realism.
One should always do the proper and moral thing. In “Shooting an Elephant” the police officer fails to do so even though he knew from the beginning that it would have been the right thing to do. He clearly exclaims that he “…did not want to shoot the elephant” (11) but his self-conscience made him kill it. In “First they came for the Jews”, the man failed to do the proper and moral thing as well for the reason that “I was not a…” Jew or a communist or a trade unionist but he was only himself, which in the end left him with no one. However, there is also a difference in how the characters dealt with the situation.
The armed forces are a special case, putting their employees into life-or-death situations where any mental distraction could be fatal. Men and women aren’t sent into combat together; why should gays and heterosexuals? If men constantly have to think about whether or not the man to his side that his life is depending on is a homosexual and may have feelings towards him is one of the biggest mental distraction you can get. If there is a law stating that homosexuals are prohibited in the military, well that would take out a huge part of mental distractions. The second argument that I will now hit on is the fact that with gays in the military it will increase the risk of attracting HIV or possibly AIDS, in the military.
In the end Orwell reluctantly decides to shoot the elephant “solely to avoid looking a fool” (479) in front of the Burmese people. Living in Burma, Orwell tells the reader how the locals despise the European oppressors in their communities, jeering, spitting, and, mocking, in attempts to annoy and embarrass the British whenever possible. This hatred expressed in front of Orwell causes him equal animosity towards the Burmese people and his own country, Great Britain. Orwell feels the British are the oppressors saying at on point “I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors,
I was very shocked by his gory decision to be honest. “As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear.” (George Orwell) this sentence is evidence that if the officer did not like his job so much he should not have made such a serious decision in killing the elephant if he knew it was not morally correct. The elephant was not doing anything wrong the officer knew that which was so frustrating for me to read. Then he not only shot the elephant once, but multiple times. I could not believe he could do such a thing given the fact he somewhat had a heart in the beginning.
Nevertheless, all that is mentioned in the story is narrated by Orwell’s perspective. Orwell is normally known as an anti-imperialist writer but in the story, he makes us feel in different way because of his manner against native people who are exploited by Orwell’s country. Moreover, Orwell truly worked as an officer in Burma but he wrote the story as an older author. Because of the fact that he served Indian Imperial Police in Burma, his writings about colonialism have intense emotions and knowledge but surely not about colonized people’s pains. Selfishness can easily be felt in “Shooting an Elephant”.