Response to George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant"

Topics: Burma, George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant Pages: 3 (949 words) Published: February 8, 2011
Although many people believe that racism has disappeared from our minds after all those solutions of trying to set equal rights in the world’s history, it still exists today, and will probably never vanish from our thinking. Some may clearly express it, whereas others may express racism unnoticeably, even to themselves. George Orwell, in “Shooting an Elephant”, tells a story of his past when he killed an elephant in order to please the Burmese crowd. At the time, Orwell was a white Indian Imperial Police officer who was disliked by the country's natives due to the fact that he was European. One day, he heard of an elephant's doing of ravaging the town, so he ran to the scene with a rifle. When he finally arrived, he found himself observing a peacefully feeding elephant while a huge crowd of Burmans gathered excitedly to observe his future action. Even though he does not feel it right to shoot the elephant, he has this huge, unavoidable pressure from the Burmese crowd. Eventually, his final decision was to shoot the elephant and satisfy the natives' hunger for excitement. Although the situation must have been difficult from Orwell's perspective, his action of killing the elephant cannot be justified. George Orwell's situation was definitely burdensome, looking from his perspective. He had his beliefs and feelings; yet, he vividly felt the pressure dawning on him as the natives assembled at the scene, eagerly and impatiently waiting for him to simply shoot the elephant. Especially for a person who “was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British,” he must have experienced an unbearable moment of making a decision. We all experience such burdensome pressure numerous times, starting from school as a kid. Students have such thing called peer pressure, where you are usually forced to do make a decision of whether or not to follow others' ways. Whether in academic studies, sports, or social life, they always tend to end up following others'...
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