Summary Of Shooting An Elephant By George Orwell

765 Words4 Pages

Societal Pressures and Identity
Many people strive to preserve morality in the face of internal or external influences. Societal pressures prompt an individual to believe in socially acceptable values, which also affect the development of identity. People find identity through the opinions of others. In George Orwell’s essay, “Shooting an elephant,” the Burmese hate George Orwell because he associates with the British imperialists. Orwell does not enjoy his job at all, and enforces values in which he does not believe in. Because he does not want the Burmese to hate him, George attempts to conform to the wishes of foreign culture, and shoots an elephant against his will. After he kills the elephant, he informs the Burmese he did it because the elephant killed a man. However, in reality, he shoots the elephant because he does not want the Burmese to laugh at him. Orwell wants the Burmese to respect him, and he does this at a sacrifice to his own conscience. The desire for social acceptance influences a person’s decisions despite an understanding of morality. …show more content…

In the Burmese culture, Orwell’s sense of morality conflicts with Burmese morals. After the elephant tramples a man, the Burmese flock to Orwell because he has a rifle. When the Burmese crowd badgers Orwell to shoot the elephant, he “[does] not want to shoot the elephant” (Orwell, 2014, p. 230). At this moment, Orwell’s conscience nags him against shooting the elephant, but he “was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind” (Orwell, 2014, p. 230). The Burmese crowd urges Orwell to act against his will and shoot the elephant, despite his desire for

Open Document