George Orwell’s essay ‘Shooting an Elephant’ presents remarkable insights of human mind and human nature. The story mainly focuses on Orwell’s behavior under peer pressure. “Should I shoot the elephant or should I not?” or “Will I lose face with these people if I don’t shoot the elephant?” First, Orwell expresses the pressure he feels as an Anglo- Indian, European imperial policeman in Burma. He would give in to what he thought the people of Burma wanted, not what he wanted. But secretly, he hated where he lived, he hated the government in Burma.
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.
In “Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell is a foreigner in the midst of British-controlled Burma. While he despises imperialism and is on the side of the Burmese, his experiences with local natives have made it difficult to sympathize with them. As the passage progresses, Orwell is given an assignment to deal with a rampaging elephant. When Orwell arrives on the scene, a citizen has already been killed but he finds the elephant to be calm. Although Orwell brainstorms a logical plan in which he would test the elephant’s aggression prior to shooting it, he is unable to withstand the pressures of the natives who are surrounding him, wishing for the elephant to be put to wrest.
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.
He understands that the will of the crowd demands the death of the elephant despite his unwillingness to shoot the animal. Conflict The narrator’s inner struggle of shooting an elephant, He has to choose between being laughed of and being seen as a fool or shooting an elephant which he does not intend to do. Style The essay exhibits a certain structure, which is very notable. That of meditation and action; it starts with reflection, tells part of the story, reflects further, offers its climax, and then ends with a final reflection. Broken up by the narrator’s reflections on the events he is remembering.
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,
The elephant was used as a display to the people that they should fear Orwell and his authority to intimidate the people. Evidence of imagery and similes were provided in the text to convey the author’s knowledge that doing the wrong thing will not create a better image in peoples’ eyes. The elephant was noted to demolish villagers’ houses, raid fruit stands, ate the stock, and brutally killed a man out of the excitement of escaping and breaking away from its owner. Looking closely at Orwell’s graphic use of imagery, he also uses a simile describing the body of the dead man. Orwell explains how people may be misled by the saying “the dead look peaceful” (Orwell 2) because most dead bodies he has seen look as if they die in agony.
Orwell begins to show his inner conflict by stating how he feels about being a European imperial policeman. Orwell is an unhappy young policeman who lives in mental isolation. He hates British imperialism, he hates Burmese natives, and he hates his job. He is completely alone with his thoughts since he cannot share his idea that "imperialism was an evil thing"(pg.10) with his countrymen. Orwell sees the British rule as "an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down.
When you read the essay it is clear that it describes the experience of an English police officer that is very unpopular in the city of Burma. He hates his job very much because of all the locals. He is a white man living in a city where the Britain’s conquered in the earlier years. This English narrator could maybe be George Norwell himself. But one day he is called out by another police officer in the town, because there is an aggressive elephant loose in the city.
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.