Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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"Shooting an Elephant  is an essay by George Orwell. Orwell was born in Motihari, near Nepal, where his father served in the Civil Service. He then lived in Burma where he had a position in the Imperial Police. During the 1920's he wrote this particular essay of his experience. Orwell was intelligently descriptive even then in telling this story of being a European in an Asian culture.

One example of how he described life as a European, was in Moulmein and everywhere he went the "yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance  (48). He lived in a time where the anti-Europeans just "seemed to have anything to do except stand on the street corners and jeer at Europeans (48). Orwell hated his job because it was impossible for anybody to take him seriously. He would walk through the jail and see "the wretched prisoners bundling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey cowed faces of the long term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been flogged with bamboos- all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt  (48).

Another example is when he was called about the elephant to take control of the matter. With the thousands of townspeople marching behind him as he "looked at the sea of yellow faces above the garish clothes- faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun , all certain that the elephant was going to be shot  (51). The whole situation was ironic because nobody in the town seemed to be fond of him, "but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching  (51). Orwell was almost pressured to stand up against the elephant and take him down immediately, but Orwell had every

intention of not going through with putting it out of its misery. With feeling pushed he felt that since he had come all that way of bri

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