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George Orwell - Shooting an Elephant

            The short story of "Shooting an Elephant," by George Orwell, begins with the author describing his position as a police officer in Lower Burma. The young officer was "an obvious target and baited whenever possible" (Orwell 1). The local Burmese hated the European rule that had taken over their land, and, as Orwell stated about the officer, "the insults got badly on his nerves" (1). The officer was upset by all of this, but was still in favor of the Burmese ruling themselves. Even though he was young, he had made up his mind that "Imperialism was an evil thing" (Orwell 1). The officer, though, still had to balance the strong disgust for the British and the locals that tried to make his job intolerable. The officer was called to assist with an elephant that had escaped his handler overnight and was causing many problems in the village. The Burmese were defenseless, as the elephant had already "destroyed someone's bamboo hut, killed a cow and raided some fruit stalls" (Orwell 1). After arriving to the area, the officer noticed this had happened in a very poor area of the village. He was looking for help from the locals on the whereabouts of the elephant, but he realized he wouldn't receive much from them. While searching about, he heard some shouting and young children running away. The officer found a poor local who had been crushed to death by the elephant. After sending an orderly after an elephant rifle, a group of locals informed him on the location of the elephant. When the officer found it, the elephant was eating grass and didn't seem to be much of a bother. He didn't want to kill the elephant, but after noticing the crowd of locals that followed him, he realized that it was something he would have to do. The officer compared himself to "an absurd puppet" being pushed by the crowd to kill the elephant (Orwell 3). .
             When the officer finally decided to kill the elephant, the only sound he heard were the cries of happiness from the crowd.

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