George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant Essay

George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant Essay

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George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant"


In 'Shooting an Elephant,' George Orwell finds himself in a difficult situation
involving an elephant. The fate of the elephant lies in his hands. Only he can
make the final decision. In the end, due to Orwell's decision, the elephant lay
dying in a pool of blood. Orwell wins the sympathy of readers by expressing the
pressure he feels as an Anglo-Indian in Burma, struggling with his morals, and
showing a sense of compassion for the dying animal.

Readers sympathize with Orwell because they can relate to his emotions in the
moments before the shooting. Being the white ?leader,? he should have been able
to make an independent decision, but was influenced by the ?natives? (Orwell
101). Orwell describes his feelings about being pressured to shoot the
elephant: ?Here I was the white man with his gun, standing in front of the
unarmed crowd - seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was
only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind
(101). Everyone has been in a situation in which he or she has been expected to
be a leader. For different reasons people are looked to as leaders, sometimes
because of their race, ethnicity, or heritage. In this case, Orwell was
pictured as a leader because he was British and he worked for the British Empire.
Readers are able to relate to the fact that he does not want to be humiliated
in front of the Burmese. He declares, ?Every white man'...

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