George Orwell Shooting An Elephant Summary

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In “Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell express his internal dilemma as to whether or not he should kill an elephant rampaging through a Burmese town. I believe he did the correct thing by killing the elephant because, the elephant was dangerous since it killed someone and destroyed some of the Burmese people’s homes, the elephant was also in “must” which can cause an elephant to be unpredictable and can last for several months depending on the elephant (Peel), not only that but killing the elephant also provided some of the native Burmese people with resources like food and ivory. I believe Orwell chose the lesser of two evils even though Orwell killed the elephant “solely to avoid looking [foolish]”, (Orwell 242). I think Orwell did the…show more content…
Must occurs usually in the winter and it is when a male elephant is ready to mate (Elephant Encyclopedia). While an elephant is in must its testosterone level can increase forty to sixty times the usual levels (Peel), these high levels of testosterone cause the elephant to lash out and act overly aggressive (Anantha). The must period for an elephant usually last between thirty to forty-five days, (Anantha), but can last longer depending on the age and physical condition of the elephant (Peel). When the elephant was in the grass alone Orwell thought that the elephant’s “attack of must was already passing off” (Orwell 240), but that could not have been the case being that must last several weeks. While it may be true that the elephant was no longer acting aggressive at that time, must causes male elephants to lose control and act unpredictably. If Orwell would have left the elephant in the field alone any sudden action could have sent the elephant back into its fit of rage endangering the Burmese people again. The owner of the elephant was twelve hours away and he was the only one who knew how to handle his elephant. Letting an uncontrollable beast wander for that amount of time would have put several people in jeopardy and would have been an irresponsible thing to

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