George Orwell Shooting An Elephant

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In the essay “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell the narrator is working as an Imperial policeman in the British occupied Burma where he questions the methods of imperialism used by the British. He describes the hatred the Burmese had towards Europeans, him specifically, which confused him as he considered himself on their side and hated the evilness of imperialism. One day an incident which he describes as ‘enlightening’ occurred. He reviewed a phone call from a fellow officer informing him of a domesticated elephant that was going on a rampage through a local bazaar. After arriving he finds a man trampled to death by the elephant and he publically calls for a gun big enough to take it down. Eventually the elephant is found in a rice paddy field and is calmly eating, not appearing to be a threat any longer.…show more content…
He feels like he must entertain the crowd, he must do what they expect of him, shoot the elephant. He considers the owner of the elephant and the worth of a dead elephant and the ‘grandmotherly’ nature of it. But in the end he looks at the crowd behind him and decides that ‘a white man mustn’t be frightened in front of natives’ and shoots the elephant multiple times in the head, heart, and down the throat. However the elephant doesn’t die and Orwell walks off from the scene and later finds out it took half an hour for it to finally die. The passage ends with Orwell saying he was happy the man was killed so his actions in killing the elephant would be justified, he also wonders if the others knew he “had done it solely to avoid looking like a
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