Life Changing Decisions In George Orwell's Shooting An Elephant

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Over the years people have all faced many life changing decisions. Once a conclusion had been met and the decision had been made, many of us don’t take the time to look back upon our choice. Reflecting on whether an external influence may have affected our preferred option can also arise questions about our morals at the time of the decision. We can see this quite clearly in George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”. His popular essay uses imagery to recount a moral dilemma he had faced early in life. “There are two Orwells in the story. Each having their own perspectives of the events. The young police officer who undertakes his own journey to meet and shoot the rampaging elephant sees things without the distance that the older author does. This …show more content…
Destroying things such as the huts of the natives, almost obligated Orwell to take down the great beast. However destroying huts is not the only thing the elephant did. “It had killed a cow, raided some fruit-stalls and devoured the stock; also it had met the municipal rubbish van and, when the driver jumped out and took to his heels, had turned the van over and inflicted violences upon it.” (Orwell Shooting an Elephant) The elephant had gone on a total rampage and Orwell needed to stop it. Then he found a dead man’s body. “I rounded the hut and saw a man 's dead body sprawling in the mud. He was an Indian, a black Dravidian coolie, almost naked, and he could not have been dead many minutes. The people said that the elephant had come suddenly upon him round the corner of the hut, caught him with its trunk, put its foot on his back and ground him into the earth.” (Orwell Shooting an Elephant) He then sent somebody to retrieve an elephant gun for him. Orwell was legally obliged to then kill the elephant because it had caused so much …show more content…
“The justifications for shooting the elephant include the fact that the elephant has damaged a hut, killed a cow, stolen fruit, and killed a Coolie. This gives him legal justification. While he recognizes the fact that the elephant 's must is passed, he is pressed to shoot the elephant because of the will of the native crowd that has amassed. He is more concerned with looking foolish in front of them than honoring the life of the elephant or worrying about its owner 's livelihood.”

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