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Essay on The Effects of Groupthink

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Everyday a war is being waged, not in foreign countries- but in small neighborhoods and capital cities all over the world. A timeless battle to retain individual thought and action in an increasingly conformist society. The concept of a unanimous group-thinking society can be witnessed throughout history in the form of political controversies to pop culture and trends, to subtle influences in everyday life. The short narrative “Shooting an Elephant” written by George Orwell is a perfect example of group-thinking that implicates that to be accepted into these societal groups, one must do what is right by them, and not by the individual. Throughout the narrative, the author is influenced by increasing pressures from the crowd to shoot the elephant although it goes against his own personal convictions. The author desires to be accepted into the native's lives; no longer a social outcast. However, with this desire comes the knowledge that the group may or may not be correct in their brutal quest for blood.

“Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell demonstrates one man's moralistic battle between his own belief of preservation of life against that of the crowd of natives which spur him to kill the beast. The author is incited in his actions by the large, unanimous crowd looming eagerly behind him. The sheer size of the group of Burmese natives can create an illusion of strength in numbers that can be hard to fight. The author knew, on one hand, that the conclusion to shoot the beast is immoral, however, from a social standpoint, agreement with the group meant survival in their territory. Failure to comply with what is expected could result in punishment in the form of embarrassment. The author writes “to come all that way, rifle in ...


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... 2013. Web. .

Lassila, Kathrin. "A brief history of groupthink." Yale Alumni Magazine. Jan.-Feb. 2008. Yale Alumni Publications. 28 Oct. 2013. Web..

Lickerman, Alex. "The Wisdom of Crowds." Psychology Today. 6 Feb. 2011. Psychology Today. 28 Oct. 2013. Web. .

Surowiecki, James. The wisdom of crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few and how collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies, and nations. New York: Doubleday, 2004. Kindle edition

Orwell George. “Shooting an Elephant” English Compostition II, Writing about your world: Global Sociocultural Awareness 3rd Edition; Jacksonville Fl. 2011 Pg. Electronic book edition.


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