Shooting an Elephant Summary Analyses

                Orwell’s essay, “Shooting an Elephant” is about him working as a police officer in lower Burma. Orwell doesn’t’ really like his job especially how the Burma people treat him. They seem to insult, sneer, and laugh at him when he walks by and walking away. It is one day when Orwell gets a call from the sub inspector from the police station.  The sub inspector informs Orwell that there is a ravaging elephant in the bazaar and if he would take care of it. The choice Orwell makes will leave him with a guilty conscience, a follower, and a person who hides behind a mask.

                Orwell states throughout his essay that he had no intention to shoot the elephant. The owner was gone and he only took the gun in fear of his own life to scare it. “As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty I ought not to shoot him” says Orwell when he finds the elephant peacefully eating. He really did not want to shoot the elephant he said over and over. When the crowd of Burmans was all standing behind him, they were cheering and had happy faces wanting him to shoot. Orwell has to come up with a decision if he is going to shoot the elephant, or leave it there until his owner gets back. “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.” Orwell went from not wanting to shoot the elephant to doing what the crowd wanted him to do. A crowd who laughed and sneered or tripped him when he walked by. These were the people Orwell felt like he had to impress or they’d end up laughing at him. That was all he worried about was what they were going to thing so he shot it.

In Orwell’s essay he chooses to “wear a mask that is fit to his face” and be something he wasn’t. Orwell decided to give in to the Burmans by shooting the elephant which is what they wanted. He said when the owner came back he was angry about it. I think that he should have stuck to his instinct by not shooting the elephant. He just wanted to prove himself to the people of Burma although he had nothing to prove to these people. I think that he should have been a leader and stuck to his intentions. Shooting the elephant only made Orwell a follower and someone who he isn’t and now he has to deal with the guilt and grief from the shooting of the elephant.            

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