Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell
Reflection by ______________
In Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell describes how when he was younger he worked as a police officer in lower Burma in a place called Moulmein. At this time Burma is controlled by the declining British Empire. He writes about how he was hated by the Burmese people and that whenever they could they would trip him or says insult behind his back. At some point during his stay there an elephant got loose from its chains and was in a rage because of its must, which is the frenzied state of the bull elephant in sexual excitement. Not sure what he is going to do about it, he decides to go and take a look at the situation. When he finally reaches the elephants location in the village it had killed a “coolie,” a person who is considered of little importance due to his race. He sends an orderly to fetch an elephant rifle, and after he has acquired the rifle he and a group of the villagers that decide to follow him to watch the elephant be shot, go to the rice fields where the elephant is harmlessly eating grass from it. He looks at the elephant and wonders if he should shoot it, since the elephant is worth more dead than alive and that shooting it is the equivalent to damaging expensive machinery. Conferring with some experienced looking Burmans who explain that the elephant will only charge if you get to close he decides not to shoot. But he realizes that the villagers behind him will think him a fool who didn’t pull the trigger. So instead of facing the embarrassment he shoots the elephant but does it wrong causing the elephant a painful and prolonged death. Afterwards he leaves and the Burmans scavenge the elephant for his meat. In the story, Orwell says that the natives forced him to do it, because of the expectation that he would kill the elephant and, not look a fool in front of them. He later says “When the white man turns tyrant, it is his own freedom that he destroys.” I think that he...
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