Life Is Precious

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Life Is Precious Most people would agree to say that all life is precious, but to most the only precious life is their own. In both stories a life is lost, whether it is an animal’s life such as the elephants in “Shooting an Elephant”, written by George Orwell, or a humans life in “A Coward”, written by Guy de Maupassant. The main characters from the two different stories portray that life is not precious by their actions, but what caused these actions were the pressure put on by other members of the community, the way society looked at them as an individual, and the social acceptance of their actions. In both stories the main character was pressured into taking a life. In the coward, the main character, named Viscount Gontran-Joseph de Signoles, accepts a duel leaving him with a 50/50 chance of living or not. Anyone in this position may feel intimidated by death but it is his own fault that he is put in this position. He let other peers not only pressure him into dueling the other man, but the pressure build up led him to kill himself. Both accepting a duel and killing yourself is no way to treat life like its precious, but neither is killing an animal. In Shooting an Elephant, the narrator is pressured, by a large group of people in order to please the people who allegedly hated him, to kill a wild elephant. This action clearly shows that not all people think life is precious because the man killed a living thing creature because he wanted to be accepted by the people. Reputation is portrayed as one of the most important things to humans, no matter what the stakes are, whether it’s putting your own life on the line or taking another humans life, such as the story goes as in “A Coward”. People will do almost anything to gain reputation, which I believe to be ridiculous. In “Shooting an Elephant” a man takes the life of an elephant to try and gain some
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