“Shooting an Elephant” is one of the major fascinating stories written by George Orwells. In this story, he tries to narrate his past life experiences as a police officer and how he was forced to kill an elephant by Burmese crowd. He explains how he was confronted with a terrible decision of whether to kill the elephant or not. It was one time when Orwell was a police officer and there was a grudge between him and the Burmese crowd. He says that these people hated him so much to an extent that they were finding a way in which they can tempt his well-being. In this story, he tries to show how people are filled with racism. It was one time when Orwell was a white Indian colonial Police officer and most of the native country disliked him. This was due to the fact that he was a European and he was just in everything he does.
Working as a police officer, he heard an incidence where an elephant was ravaging in the town and had killed one of the men from Burmese. Thus, he was forced to run with a riffle in order to rescue the crowd. When he arrived to the entire town, he was astonished to find a Burmese crowd gathering to see his action towards the elephant. They suddenly forced him to shoot the elephant, although he felt that it was not right to kill the elephant, the pressures from the Burmese crowd could not permit him from refraining the killing. This essay will present an argument whether or not the police officer was justifying in shooting the elephant.
Argue your point of view on the story, including answering the question of whether or not the police officer was justify in shooting the elephant? If yes Why ? If no Why not?
In my opinion, I think it was essential for the police officer to shoot the elephant. Although it is not good to take the life of a living thing, I feel it was good for him to shoot the elephant. This is due to the fact that the elephant was doing some damages in the town and had killed one of the men from the Burmese. Thus, it was just for him to shoot it, as it would have killed some of the people who tend to loiter in the town and other helpless people. Although, it was not good for him to make the decision of killing the elephant, it was necessary to first evaluate whether killing the elephant will be just or not.
It is seen that the Burmese crowd disliked the police officer and they looked for different ways of destroying his well-being (Orwell and Jeremy 34). This can be seen as one reason that forced the police officer to shoot the entire elephant. It is recorded that the Burmese crowd were waiting to see the action that will be taken by the police officer. Therefore, for him to portray his power it was necessary for him to shoot the elephant.
Additionally, Burmese crowd had developed hatred to this police officer, due to the fact that he was just. Observing him and his action towards the elephant can be seen as one way that Burmese crowd was targeting him. This means that he had no other option apart from killing the innocent animal that had came in the town. Thus, it was right for him to shoot the elephant due to these huge and unavoidable pressures from these crowds (Orwell and Jeremy 34).
It can be seen that during his time in India, he was exposed to numerous immoral situations. Orwell being the imperial officer, the Burmese frequently harassed him (Orwell and Jeremy 34). He says that he was always the target and was tempted whenever it seemed safe. This means that he had no other option apart from killing the entire elephant (Orwell and Jeremy 34). This was good, as he will please his enemies who always targeted him. Another reason why shooting of the elephant was justly is the perception that White men should not should their fear among the natives (Orwell and Jeremy 34). I believe it was necessary for the police officer to shoot the elephant as he displayed his braveness among the native countries such as Burmese crowd who were observing him.
Another reason why I conclude that the police officer was just in shooting of the elephant is that it portrays his good form of acting with accordance of colonial protocol (Orwell and Jeremy 34). The police officer being the member of the ruling race, it was necessary for him to kill the elephant (Orwell and Jeremy 34). This is because it showed that he was not feeling pity for the dead Burmese man. Thus, he must act his part and show his power not necessary to please the entire Burmese but to show his power (Orwell and Jeremy 34). Thus, he was justifying in his actions.
From the above point of view, it is clearly evidenced that the police officer was just in his actions of shooting the elephant. This is because it showed his power and braveness among the Burmese crowd that was gazing at him. Shooting of the elephant shoed that the police officer was showing respect to the ruling race. It also showed that he is not biased, as the native countries tat disliked him. Thus, he was just in shooting the elephant.
- Orwell, George, and Jeremy Paxman. Shooting an Elephant. London: Penguin Classics, 2009. Internet resource.