Analysis Of Shooting The Elephant By George Orwell

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Peer pressure can be defined as “influence from members of one’s peer group”. This is exactly what George Orwell experienced at the moment he held up the rifle towards the elephant. The people of Burma expected him to shoot the elephant and they made it known. George Orwell did not see the elephant as a potential threat when he first encountered him as he was calmly eating grass. Orwell naturally shied away from the idea of murdering a harmless animal. Yet, the crowd of thousands that had gathered behind him had high expectations of him, as he was the European official. Ultimately, he shot the elephant and it became clear he felt remorse. The elephant did not die right away and Orwell shot it multiple times in hopes to end it’s suffering, revealing …show more content…
Orwell begins the story by expressing his hatred for the British empire taking over Burma and Totalitarianism. He confesses that he only felt like he had to shoot the elephant because he was the British officer amongst a sea of Burmese citizens expecting him to act like a leader. He was completely against Totalitarianism and Imperialism. The only reason he shot the elephant was to avoid looking like a fool in front of all the people who expected him to shoot the elephant. In the passage titled “Shooting The Elephant” by George Orwell, he states “I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys.”(137). Orwell states to be the man in control, he had to do what the Burmese expected a man of power to do and shoot the elephant; thus, he lost the ultimate control. It becomes clear that shooting an elephant was a task he only had to do because of his association with the British Empire. He felt that it was his duty to be a leader and felt as though he was only in this position because of his part in Totalitarianism. The fact that he felt forced into killing the elephant, due to his position in the British government, only lessened his desire to shoot the creature. Therefore, George Orwell felt obligated to shoot the elephant by the British Empire which caused him to not want to do

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