shooting an elephant

Topics: Burma, George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant Pages: 2 (777 words) Published: November 7, 2013


The Big Decision Between Morals or Judgement
Topic 1

Kristen Sigda-Holyoak
Dr. Susan Bauman
English 100
September 27th, 2013
Orwell was a police officer in Burma during the time of Imperialism, which was a very difficult task. The Burmese did not agree with the British coming in and gaining power by taking over and this made Orwell’s job very hard to do. The Burmese did not like police officers and Orwell was often taunted and teased by the people he was tripped in soccer games and people made him the center of all the jokes. Orwell would do almost anything to make the Burmese like him, which puts him in a very difficult position. In “Shooting an Elephant” Orwell faces a life-changing event of choosing between a good reputation or shooting an innocent animal and going against his morals.

Orwell has a hard time adjusting in Burma due to the fact that Imperialism is something the Burmese did not like. The Burmese taunted Orwell everyday, which caused Orwell to be “stuck between [his] hatred of the empire [he] served and [his] rage against the evil-spirited little beasts” (Orwell 472) who continue to taunt him everyday when all he wanted to do was protect them. Orwell took many shots to his ego when the Burmese would trip him or laugh at him, which made him a very unhappy man and made his job protecting them very hard to do. When a “coolie” was killed Orwell was called to go check on the animal. When Orwell went to take care of the situation he took a small sized gun with him but had to switch it out for a bigger one causing the people of Burma to be more interested in what was going on. Orwell states, “ As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him” (Orwell 474). In saying this Orwell shows the internal conflict he is faced with in that moment he “did not in the least want to shoot him” (Orwell 475). The Burmese were waiting patiently for a show and they all desperately wanted...
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