In "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell, the author recounts an incident in Burma where he was forced to shoot an elephant that had gone rogue. Orwell's feelings about killing the elephant are complex, reflecting the conflicting pressures that he faced as a colonial officer in Burma.
On the one hand, Orwell feels that he has no choice but to shoot the elephant because he is being pressured by the locals to do so. He is aware of the power dynamics at play in the situation, with the Burmese people looking to him as a representative of the British Empire. Orwell writes, "I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible." He feels that he must act to protect his authority and maintain the colonial order, even if it means taking the life of the elephant.
On the other hand, Orwell feels guilty about killing the elephant, which he describes as a "great beast" that he did not want to kill. He is aware of the animal's suffering and the senseless destruction of life that his actions represent. He also recognizes that the shooting of the elephant is a symbol of the larger injustice of colonialism, with the elephant representing the oppressed Burmese people and Orwell representing the oppressive colonial power.
Overall, Orwell's feelings about killing the elephant in "Shooting an Elephant" reflect the complexities of colonialism and the moral dilemmas that arise in such situations. While he feels compelled to maintain order and protect his authority, he is also aware of the violence and suffering that such actions entail. The story is a powerful critique of the oppressive nature of colonialism and the dehumanizing effects it has on both the colonizers and the colonized.
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