Shooting an Elephant

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George Orwell writes of his experience in British-ruled India in the early Twentieth Century. At the time, he was a young, inexperienced soldier stationed there to help protect the Queen's interests. While he was there, he had to do something that had made some ethical conflicts within him. Orwell had to kill an elephant that had run rampant in lust throughout a village. In it's wake it destroyed a truck, a hut, and a villager. The villagers were obviously upset about the ordeal and he was called upon to restore the order before anything, or anyone, was hurt. Throughout the course of the adventure, he decided that it was best to kill the animal. His reasons for doing so, however, were not as clear-cut. He said his ultimate decision was to not look bad in front of the villagers; that gave him a degree of shame. Orwell was obviously in conflict within himself about his rationale, otherwise there would be none. What is to be seen is how he was justified in shooting the elephant, regardless of what ethical or moral agonies he had suffered. 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 and ate the contents, and destroyed a government garbage van. These are very valid reasons to kill it, and ensure that it will never occur again with the animal in question, as well as maintain order within the village.
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