George Orwella’s ‘Shooting an Elephant’

GeorgeOrwella’s ‘Shooting an Elephant’

Emotionsbrought out in this article

Firstof all, George Orwella has displayed strong emotions towards theresidents of this area. His dislike for the Burmese is brought out onso many occasions. He says that they make his work impossible. Thisis because they constantly pick on him for no good reason. The factthat he is a European makes him an automatic enemy of the people.This is a result of the tyrannical regime of the empire that wasruling at the time. George describes that to such tyranny actuallytakes away the freedom of the officers it puts in place to keep guardover the subjects.

Thisfact is brought out in the article when George is forced to shootdown an elephant even when he did not find it necessary to do so.This is his sole moment of glory as he is constantly heckled by theBurmese on every other occasion. They were excited because they wouldget some meat from the large animal, but George considered it to besimilar to murder. He knew that the “must” attack would soon passand that the owner would finally be able to control it, but by thenit was too late for an ethical decision. The crowd of more than twothousand people was blood thirsty and he was their ally at this time.For a moment he was not the European who symbolized the tyrannicalregime, and he took refuge in these thoughts as he took the beast’slife (Orwell 151).

Otherstrong emotions brought out in this article include sympathy. Despitethe fact that the elephant had mauled a man, he did not think thatkilling him was absolutely necessary. He asked for the gun simply toprotect himself if the animal attacked but it seems the Burmese hadthe wrong impression of this gesture. He felt controlled by this massof people. One can only argue that this worsened his despise for theregime in place at the time.

Responseto Student’s work

RyanMalek very accurately illustrates the emotions that were goingthrough George throughout this period. He quotes the words thatGeorge used in his article, such as &quotI thought that the greatestjoy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest`sguts.&quot To illustrate just how potent his hatred for this peoplewas. George himself has been portrayed as being very expressive andverbal in his article as he continues to say, &quotIt was a damnshame to shoot the elephant for killing a coolie, because an elephantwas worth more than any damn Coringhee coolie.&quot This quotationis an example of the sentiments that other officers felt towards theBurmese. However, it has been used in Ryan’s discussion to describeGeorge’s feelings as well. George justifies his act solely by thefact that the elephant had killed a man and caused considerabledamage in the town but even he knows that he only did it so as not tobe thought as a fool by the townsmen that had gathered there (Orwell149).

Ryan’sexamples and quotations have hit the mark in describing George’sfeelings. The discussion was rather brief and did not show hispersonal attitude towards the article. Nevertheless, George’ssympathy for the dying animal was clearly brought out and illustratedin the discussion when he quotes, “the elephant was dying, veryslowly and in great agony, but in some world remote from me where noteven a bullet could damage him further.&quot The article anddiscussion by Ryan thus show the full range of George’s emotions.


Orwell,George. Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays: London, 1950. Print.