Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

588 Words3 Pages
In “Shooting an Elephant,” human nature is the same as it would be in just about any story that we would read or hear. Human nature is no different in Burma than anywhere else in the world. George Orwell describes the different degrees of human nature, from completely normal to in some cases extreme. It is important to focus on the peer pressure taking place in this piece since it is what drives this entire selection. “Should I shoot the elephant or should I not?” or “Will I lose face with these people if I don’t shoot the elephant?” Orwell was the kind of person that did not have a very high self-esteem. He did not have his ducks in a row, so to speak. Hence, Orwell wasn’t one to function under pressure. He would give in to what he thought the people of Burma wanted, not to what he wanted. But secretly inside he hated the environment in which he lived, he hated the imperialistic government in which resided in Burma, and he hated the residents of Burma. “…I thought the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts.” (Page 310) He felt all of this hatred for the people around him, but yet he felt as if he had to go along with everything and everyone else just to live in harmony. As Orwell was summoned to the “tiny incident” as he called it, taking care of the elephant situation, he found that the residents of the village did not know exactly what was going on with the elephant until they found out that there could possibly be a shooting, or at least some excitement. For example, he asked some of the villagers if they had seen the elephant. Some said that the elephant went to the left and some said that the elephant went to the right and some did not even know about the elephant at all. “They had not shown much interest in the elephant when he was merely ravaging their homes, but it was different now that he was going to be

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