Shooting the Elephant

In: English and Literature

Submitted By inter
Words 990
Pages 4
George Orwell's essay 'Shooting an Elephant' gives remarkable insight into the human psyche. The essay presents a powerful theme of inner conflict. Orwell feels strong inner conflict between what he believes as a human being, and what he believes and should do as an imperial police officer. The author is amazingly effective in illustrating this conflict by providing specific examples of contradictory feelings, by providing an anecdote that exemplified his feelings about his situation, and by using vivid imagery to describe his circumstances. A police officer in the British Raj, the supposedly 'unbreakable'; ruling force, was afraid. With his gun aimed at an elephant's head, he was faced with the decision to pull the trigger. That officer was George Orwell, and he writes about his experience in his short essay “Shooting an Elephant” to save face, he shrugged it off as his desire to “avoid looking the fool” (George Orwell, 77). In truth, the atmosphere of fear and pressure overwhelmed him. His inner struggle over the guilt of being involved in the subjugation of a people added to this strain, and he made a decision he would later regret enough to write this story. In his essay, Orwell describes how the abuses and treatment he witnessed oppressed him with an intolerable sense of guilt, (Orwell, 72). This is not some minor pang, or nagging worry. The shame pressed down on his shoulders with an unbearable weight. He also describes the injustices in detail, using vivid pictures like 'The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages (Orwell, 72). This does not come from someone who condones such behavior. It stems from a troubled, remorseful soul.
The mob, thousands by his description, also pressured him. “I could feel their two-thousand wills press me forward, irresistibly, ’he emphasizes (Orwell, 74) It is hard to resist the peer pressure…...

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