George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”

Topics: Leo Tolstoy, Nonviolence, Civil disobedience Pages: 2 (806 words) Published: October 17, 2012
George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”
1. On page 517 of The Norton Reader, Shorter Edition, the first question asks, “Why did Orwell shoot the elephant?  Account for the motives that led him to shoot.  Then categorize them as personal motives, circumstantial motives, social motives, or political motives.  Is it easy to assign his motives to categories?  Why or why not * Orwell did shoot the elephant because he felt the pressure that came from thousands of native people behind him when he got the rifle in his hand. Those people expected Orwell to shoot the elephant. Orwell realized that if he could shoot the elephant he will gain some respect from the Burmese people. I think his decision was based on circumstantial motives, social motives and political motives. It was considered as a political motive because he did not want the other German officer to be disrespect by Burmese people and have a bad experience like him. Social motive is one of the most important motives because he wanted gain some respect from the Burmese, who always a fool of him. I think it is not so hard to assign his motives to categories because Orwell describes his feeling very clearly in his essay and it’s easy to understand. 2. Facts ordinarily do not speak for themselves. How does Orwell present his facts to make them speak in support of his analytic points? Look, for example, at the death of the elephant (paragraphs 11 to 13) * I think Orwell used the fact to support his analytic points by describing the death of the elephant in step by step, so the reader can imagine along. For example in paragraph 13, he explained how he tried to make the elephant suffer the least but ended up being hopeless. He also tried to explain how the elephant was in such an agony to the point that it probably couldn’t feel anything anymore. 3. List morals you learn from this story.

* I’ve learned that in order to live peacefully with other people you have to adjust yourself, sometimes...
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