George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant: a Summary
George Orwell, from a first person narrative perspective of a British officer in Moulmein, Burma, writes an autobiographical essay titled Shooting an Elephant, confessing the inner conflict of a British police officer. From his experience in British-ruled India in the early Twentieth Century, his essay shows feelings in the area and the East against Europe, and faults of the imperialism. While he was there he is having to do something that caused ethical conflicts within himself, and we see it still does from the way he wrote his essay. Our narrator reveals the most significant event in his career as a police officer, which was a "must" to shoot an elephant causing a rampage in the village which destroyed truck, a hut, and a villager. Even villagers gets upset about the ordeal, but he is ordered to restore the village before more destruction. After all the adventure he goes through, he decides to kill the animal would be the best, even though his reasons to do so was not assured. The furthest worry he said he had was to not look as bad in front of the villagers that would cause him shame. How he justified to shoot the elephant was to be seen without not seeing the ethical or moral torturing he goes through. Orwell's worry was also not to lose the authority that is showed by the presence of the soldiers there, and he had to show it somehow. The elephant did also alot of bad to the village, killing a man and a cow, and destroying a van that was owned by the government. All these were also reasons to kill the animal and to make sure villagers do not show up with animal questions again. Killing the elephant would also maintain the order soldiers had in the village.
Orwell needed to show solidarity among the people as a man of authority. If he had not, the presence of the troops there would deteriorate to the point of total anarchy. The creature had also trampled a hut, killed a man, a cow, destroyed a fruit stand...
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