George Orwell Shooting An Elephant Essay

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In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” Orwell highlights the struggle of a British officer who feels compelled by the Burmese people to kill a rampant elephant in order to follow his duty of being a police officer of Burma. Orwell confronts the elephant with a gun in the story and realizes that, “when a white man turns tyrant, it is his own freedom he destroys.” (Pg.6 3rd paragraph) This sentence provides an excellent thesis for the story. Because Orwell was in a position of authority, he had to deviate from his freedom and moral code to shoot an elephant he did not think deserved to die. Orwell’s job as a police officer for Burma, one of Great Britain’s colonies, places him in precarious positions. He has a strange and unshared camaraderie with the…show more content…
Orwell soon after begins to hate the Burmese people for hating him, even to the point of mentioning how “the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts.”(Pg.4 1st paragraph) All this time in Burma, Orwell believes that he (and the empire) are the ones in charge. They are the wise rulers, and the native people seem inferior. However, Orwell soon faced an obstacle that changed his viewpoint drastically. The obstacle is a rampant elephant high on hormones from its “must”, a natural breeding cycle that all elephants experience. The elephant escapes its confines and terrorizes parts of the city. One of Orwell’s superior officers then orders him to go out and dispatch the animal. Throughout his investigation, Orwell notices that the Burmese people begin to follow him as he ventures throughout the small area where the elephant left its mark. The rampage has been quite tame compared to other incidents, only one person died, a coolie, or unskilled
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