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Shooting An Elephant: The Reality of Reality

4 Pages 1074 Words November 2019

Were you ever pressured into doing something you did not want to do? Were you persuaded by other people’s thoughts and opinions? In the essay “Shooting An Elephant’, by George Orwell, the young narrator was trapped in this state of oppression. He was a sub-divisional police officer in the country of Burma. During this time, Burma was under the rule of the British. He was deeply hated among the Burmans and was secretly against the rule of imperialism. One day, the police officer was informed that an elephant had raided a local village and wanted him to take action. As he got closer and closer to the scene of the attacks with a crowd of eager faces watching him, a choice had to be made whether or not shooting the elephant was going to be his next motive. He kept going back and forth with this idea and ultimately ended up killing the elephant. After this scene, he was left with a great deal of sorrow and guilt, but in return left an even great offering to the Burmans. Although the police officer had legitimate reasoning towards this conscience choice, further analyzation of the text justifies the killing of the elephant.
Imperialism in Burma took place in the 1800s to the 1900s. Burma was a very wealthy country because of its abundance in natural resources (“How a Nation is Exploited”). Many of the resources were imported to other countries like India, China, and the United States. When the British took over their land, they had complete control over them. The Burmese were too uneducated to realize that they were being taken advantage of. No riots were able to be formed against the military since they lacked education and weapons. In return for their labor, the Burmans were given better schooling systems and roadways. They worked hard for very little money, meaning they lived in poverty. Shooting this elephant, gave the Burmans a sense of high spirits in this time of need. The moment the elephant was shot, “[he] heard the dev...

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