Shooting An Elephant

Topics: British Empire, Colonialism, George Orwell Pages: 1 (374 words) Published: March 9, 2015
1. Orwell shoots the elephant because the two thousand native people standing behind him expect him to. They want revenge for the man it killed, the meat the carcass will provide, and the entertainment of watching the shooting. “The people expected it of me and I had got to do it” he writes. There is a suggestion that if he decided not to shoot the elephant, both he and the empire would suffer a loss of prestige, but the main concern in Orwell’s mind is the “long struggle not to be laughed at”. He is even afraid to “test” the animal’s mood by going closer for fear it might attack and kill him before he could shoot, therefore giving the crowd a sight it would enjoy as much as the murder of the beast. Orwell says that he did not intend to shoot the elephant.  He only got the gun so that he could protect himself if need be.  When he actually saw the elephant, he became convinced that there was no point in shooting it.  But then, he found the main reason why he had to shoot it. Here's how he puts it: The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly (3). Because of this, he had to shoot the elephant. Orwell wants to be recognized as a strong and protective person. 2. Orwell’s feeling about imperialism is negative because he disapproves of imperialism. The elephant stands for British colonies where Orwell is symbolized as Great Britain. When Orwell finds the elephant it seems very friendly, it reflects that the colonies are extremely peaceful. The thought of shooting the elephant represents Great Britain destroying the colonies. Orwell shoots the elephant because he is scared of losing his face. This can be described that he hates the British Empire. 3. If I were to write a paper over “Shooting an Elephant" I would focus on using Pathos (emotion). Orwell shows pathos in his story by how he feels about shooting the elephant and how he is concerned what the natives think of him.

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Cited: Orwell, George. “Killing an Elephant." Moulmein, in Lower Burma: George Orwell, c. 1936.
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