Short Review of "Shooting an Elephant"

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George Orwell’s short story “Shooting an Elephant,” is set in Burma during the British rule. The narrator is a white policeman who is forced to shoot an elephant that has gone rogue and is destroying crops and buildings and has killed one person. He gathers his guns and sets off in the direction of the rogue elephant and his following of natives increases as he gets closer to the elephant. The elephant’s owner is not in town so he is forced to make a decision about shooting the elephant. The narrator is torn between what he feels like he should do and what he himself wants to do. He realizes, “I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of the yellow faces behind”(3). He shoots the elephant but it does not die instantly. Even after he fires several rounds into it, the animal does not die and suffers a long painful death as it bleeds out. The context of the story is one of imperialism and how the narrator is forced to be a leader and make a decision he doesn’t want to do just so he doesn’t lose face in front of a crowd who hates him. Even though he was the one with the power and authority, he was still hated and mocked by those “evil-spirited little beasts”(1) around him. The only reason he shot and killed the elephant was to maintain his control; he believed that by not doing it he would lose face with the locals. In the end he justified his decision of power by saying he had only conformed to the law and that he had had every right to shoot the elephant as it had already killed a person

Quotation sandwich
* Into/signal statement
* Quote itself
* Citation
* Explanation/analyzation
* justification
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