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Shooting an Elephant - Ethical Decisions

            People struggle when they are making choices which are related to ethical dilemmas because it is hard to define what is really right when someone's decision isn't pleasing to others. The dilemma that George Orwell faced in "Shooting an Elephant" is similar to one many face in his or her life because people are facing different challenges all the time during their lives. In "Shooting an Elephant," the author, George Orwell contends with imperialism. Orwell was 20, and worked as a British police officer in Burma who was helping the British Government to spread out British imperialism among the Burmese. Although Orwell believed that, "I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better" (141), he participated in spreading it. When he faced with the issue of shooting an elephant or not, Orwell was forced to shoot the innocent elephant to satisfy the Burmese who isolated Orwell mentally. In our lives, people are facing different ethical decisions. A friend of mine, Jean found out that her best friend was cheating during a final exam. Jean hesitated between whether she should tell her professor the truth or keep the secret for her best friend. In my opinion, Jean should tell the professor the truth because this is the only way to help her friend stop cheating on exams. If Jean chose to keep this secret, her friend will definitely cheat again in the future because everyone wants a good score without working hard. In this case, Jean should tell the professor about the truth in order to teach her friend a lesson.
             Everyone faces difficult decisions, even Orwell hesitated before shooting the elephant. Although Orwell felt that shooting the elephant was wrong, he did it anyway because he wanted to be accepted by the Burmese and receive respects from them. The safest way of dealing with this issue is ignoring it and walking away; however, Orwell protected the Burmese from being hurt even when they weren't aware of it.

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