Shooting an Elephant

Topics: Burma, George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant Pages: 3 (1279 words) Published: May 13, 2013
Joe Portaro
Scott Tenney
Project 2b
"Shooting an elephant"
The main purpose of George Orwell’s story “shooting an elephant” is not to show how or explain how to actually kill an elephant; his work demonstrates how people will react to a imperialistic situation, will they follow the crowd or will they hold their own beliefs and not let others change them. In Orwell’s case he had no intention of killing the elephant but because the crowd behind him was one he wanted, instead of being made fun of all the time, to be appreciated and liked by he made the decision to kill the elephant. The story starts off explaining Orwell's role as a police officer in the Burmese area and he explains how the Burman's hate him for being British, but hated him more for being a British police officer because he has power over the Burman's. He even gives an example of a community soccer game he played in with the Burman's where they mistreat and make fun of Orwell. He doesn't appreciate the way the Burmese people treat him but he understands why they were doing so. Things change when one day or well gets a call from a sub-inspector from another police station, the man asked George if he would kindly come and help calm a ravage elephant. He takes a gun with them but only for protection for himself; he had no intention of actually killing elephant before he had arrived in the town. The gun in the story represents power, without it Orwell is just as useless as a Burman trying to stop the elephant; but with it he is a strong and courageous person. When Orwell first arrives the elephant had only done minor offenses like flip over a van, and smash a hut. The situation then takes a turn when the elephant picked up a man with this trunk then threw him down into the mud thrusting his large foot on the man’s back shoving his body into the earth. Now Orwell had reasoning for actually shooting the elephant, but still in his mind he did not want to do so, it just seemed like the morally right...
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