Saving Face Saving Face In Shooting an Elephant by George Orwells, the author narrates an incident when he was an unhappy British police officer in Burma faced with the predicament to shoot an elephant and safe face, or not shoot it and loose face. Making decisions to meet others expectations, to avoid humiliation and embarrassment, or to maintain ones dignity can have repercussions in ones life.
Orwells final act of killing the elephant to please a crowd and look like a powerful sahib, in my opinion, was unjustified. I think Orwell dismissed valid reasons in his desperate attempt to save his pride. He expressed several times that he knew with perfect certainty that he ought not to shoot him, although the elephant had killed a coolie, it was not longer a risk to the natives. In addition, he watched the elephant eating grass with grandmotherly air acknowledging that to shoot him would be a murder because the animal looked no more dangerous than a cow, however, his concern of being laughed at and humiliated clouded his judgment therefore deciding to shoot the elephant. Orwells tried to justify his decision by using rhetorical appeals arguing that legally he had done the right thing claiming that a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog , if its owner fails to control it. Regardless of the legality of his actions, in my opinion, it was the wrong choice and the death of the animal could have been avoided if Orwells ego would not had been the main focus of the outcome. In the end, Orwell did not shoot the elephant in self defense nor to save the natives lives and their properties, but to save face and fulfill the expectations of the two thousand happy faces that although did not like him, with a magical rifle in his hands, he was suddenly worth watching. Meanwhile, Orwell was left with the troubles of his actions and wondering whether any of the others grasps that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool. PAGE SAVING FACE
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