Moral Issues and Decisions in George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant Essay

Moral Issues and Decisions in George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant Essay

Length: 611 words (1.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Moral Issues and Decisions in Shooting an Elephant 

Throughout "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell, he addresses his  internal battle with the issues of morality and immorality. He writes of several situations that show his immoral doings. When George Orwell signed up for a five-year position as a British officer in Burma he was unaware of the moral struggle that he was going to face. Likewise, he has an internal clash between his moral conscious and his immoral actions. Therefore, Orwell becomes a puppet to the will of the Burmese by abandoning his thoughts of moral righteousness. This conflicts with the moral issue of relying upon other's morals, rather than one's own conscience.


During Orwell's time in India he is exposed to several unethical situations. As an imperial officer, Orwell is often harassed, "I was an obvious target and was baited whenever it seemed safe"(Orwell 521). Therefore, Orwell's initial feelings are fear and rage toward the Burmese. He displays his hate in wanting " to drive a bayonet into the Buddhist priest's guts"(522). However, thou...

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant ' Essay example

- Every day, each individual will look back on decisions he or she have made and mature from those experiences. Though it takes time to realize these choices, the morals and knowledge obtained from them are priceless. In George Orwell’s nonfictional essay, “Shooting an Elephant”, a young Orwell was stationed in Burma for the British imperial forces, tasked to deal with an elephant who destroyed various parts of the village Moulmein while its owner was away. Backed by second thoughts and a crowd of thousands, he finds himself shooting the elephant and reflecting that it was not justified; however, it was a choice pushed by his duty and the people....   [tags: George Orwell, Burma, Shooting an Elephant, Musth]

Better Essays
781 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Critical Analysis of Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

- Critical Analysis of Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell "Shooting an Elephant" is perhaps one of the most anthologized essays in the English language. It is a splendid essay and a terrific model for a theme of narration. The point of the story happens very much in our normal life, in fact everyday. People do crazy and sometimes illegal moves to get a certain group or person to finally give them respect. George Orwell describes an internal conflict between his personal morals and his duty to his country to the white man's reputation....   [tags: Shooting an Elephant George Orwell Essays]

Better Essays
848 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant '

- George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” deals with the nature of a human’s identity and ego. The story is set during the British colonization of Burma and discusses the ordeals of an English police officer stationed in the colony, who hates both his job and the people whom he polices. He faces many challenging decisions that put him in a place where he must either follow his own beliefs or fall to the will of the citizens of Burma. Throughout the story the officer is stuck with the decision of whether to do what he thinks is right, in order to preserve his ego or to do what the majority wants, in order to preserve his public identity....   [tags: Burma, George Orwell, Hatred]

Better Essays
982 words (2.8 pages)

Pride and Power in George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" and "A Hanging"

- Every writer has that one special quirk that keeps readers coming back for more. Whether it is the humor or the characters, most authors carry their quirks from story to story. In “Shooting an Elephant,” George Orwell describes his experience of shooting an elephant. In “A Hanging,” he describes the emotions that run through him as he watches the hanging of a prisoner. Both essays have similar key ideas that identify Orwell as a writer. The results of pride and power contribute to the themes that connect his essays and identify Orwell as a descriptive writer....   [tags: shooting an elephant, a hanging]

Better Essays
986 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

- ‘Shooting an Elephant’ is a short story written by George Orwell in 1936. The story is about a young British man who serves as a police officer in Burma, which is part of British India in the 1920s. This policeman is torn between his hate for the British occupation and the abuse he gets from the natives on a daily basis. Politically, he is on the Burmese side because he despises the oppressive British rule in Burma. Even though he is against the occupation, he has to act superior over the natives in order to maintain British power over the land....   [tags: short story, British oppression in Burma]

Better Essays
593 words (1.7 pages)

Shooting An Elephant Essay

- Shooting an Elephant In life we as humans often make decisions that we would not have made on our own if we would not have been influenced by someone else. As humans others' opinions mean a great deal to us, and in "Shooting an Elephant", Orwell shows how true this idea is by the tone of the story. "Shooting an Elephant" is the story of a British policeman in Moulmein, a city in Burma, that is torn between shooting or not shooting an elephant that has gone ramped. The native people did not like him much, but when the elephant went on its rampage they were quick to call on him....   [tags: George Orwell Literature Analysis Shooting Elephan]

Better Essays
942 words (2.7 pages)

Analysis Of George Orwell 's ' Shooting An Elephant ' Essay

- In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, the author describes how he is in a very special and difficult circumstance. The background information he provides in the introduction explains how he was born and raised in India, but attended school in England. Soon after, he became an officer for the English government but was stationed over in India during their imperialistic reign. This knowledge is essential to the reader in understanding Orwell’s thoughts and emotions while reading. Throughout the story, symbols such as the rifle, the elephant, and even Orwell himself represent the British’s power over the people, the evils of imperialism, and the slow decline of the British empire....   [tags: British Empire, Imperialism, Burma, Empire]

Better Essays
711 words (2 pages)

Essay about Analytical Summary Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

- ... On his way, he hears that the elephant that was causing trouble was actually a tamed elephant that went mad due to ‘must.’ He also learns that it had already wreaked massive havoc among the Burmese villages. Upon his arrival, he is perplexed at the conflicting testimonies of the natives, making him think that this incident is just a hoax. At that very moment, he sees a corpse of man that the elephant had trampled upon. Realizing the severity of the situation, he sends an orderly to get an elephant rifle and heads towards a paddy field where the elephant rests, followed by a large crowd of people....   [tags: imperialism, wishes, essay, officer]

Better Essays
1059 words (3 pages)

An Exploration of British Injustice in Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

- ... This phrase shows not only how the people oppressed by the Imperialism suffer, but the tyrant itself by giving up his freedom. Through the way Orwell arrange this paragraph the audience can now truly understand Orwell’s argument about how Imperialism has negative effects on those in the power, and how ironically it is for Orwell to gain power and dominance over others, just to lose freedom and dominance over yourself. Through the essay, with the use of particular emotional words and sentences, the audience can perceive Orwell’s feelings and emotions, by the memorable amount of pathos over his essay....   [tags: imperialism, control, pressure]

Better Essays
1616 words (4.6 pages)

Analysis Of The Article ' Moral Instinct ' By Steven Pinker Essay

- Does everyone know what to do at a certain point, are all of our decisions benefiting us in the future, can our actions harm others. All of these thoughts are going on in our heads on a daily basis. Now that you are thinking about it ask yourself how many decision you make a day, and how many do actually consider the outcomes of later on. In the article, “Moral Instinct” written by Steven Pinker, touches upon the point of how these decisions are made based on certain factors in society or by self-judgment....   [tags: Burma, George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant]

Better Essays
1933 words (5.5 pages)