In society, we are sometimes obligated to make a decision on the spot, without looking back or looking at any options around us. It may mean you have to make a decision for a big group or have to make a decision for yourself; in this case, both of those options weren’t good ones for the man who killed the elephant. In “Shooting an Elephant” George Orwell narrates a story about his experience as a police officer in Burma that had killed an extreme elephant. Being British in a Burmese community made his perspective of a police officer a little different.
He was hated by the Burmese community and they showed it, he hated his job overall, the people would say dirty remarks and insult him. In fact, the young Buddhist priests were the worse of all. What depressed him was that he’d see all the dirty works of the underground. It was all confusing and upsetting to him, he realized imperialism was an evil thing and that he’d soon want to throw his job out for the better. One day he was informed by a sub inspector of a police station that an elephant was on the loose nearby and had obviously lost control under the attack of “must”.
He rode on his pony and picked up his rifle, a . 44 Winchester, small enough to kill an elephant. While riding there, the Burmese people stopped to tell him how the elephant was on loose. Everyone had a different story, which got him to believe there may be no elephant after all, and this was all one big joke. The Burmese communities weren’t armed and had no weapons to kill the elephant so it all depended on who had the rifle in their hand.
When he arrived, the sub inspector and some Indian constables were waiting on him by the quarters where they had last seen the elephant. As he was getting nearby he came across a hut where he had seen a dead body laying there, everyone said the elephant had stepped on him and instantly killed him. He stared at the body and then went to go see how the elephant was behaving. Approaching the elephant he soon became aware that there were thousands of people surrounding him behind just to see what was going to go on.
As he says, “The crowd grew very still, and a deep, low, happy sigh, as of people who see the theatre curtain go up at last, breathed from innumerable throats” (185). He was aware that the Burmese community looked upon him to kill the elephant. While staring at the elephant he looked completely harmless, it was messing around with branches and wanted a peaceful environment. He knew he didn’t want to shoot it, while going there he didn’t think about how he would come down to killing it he just knew it was a task that needed to be done.
He thought if he tested the elephants behavior and it seemed okay he would let it go away, but if it reacted negatively he would shoot it. At that moment where he was standing and was watched by from the community he knew he had no choice, he was pressured to shoot the elephant. So he did, not once, but multiple times because it took multiple shots to kill the elephant. Even though he didn’t see the killing of the elephant because it happened a half an hour later he didn’t feel so good about it. When you’re in a community where you feel you don’t belong, it has its difficulty.
Even though he didn’t want to want to shoot the elephant, the community looked up to the white man to make the decision. It may just be a cliche that all white men are superior and can do things better than even the natives. For example, immigrants feel they are treated differently because people who they feel surround them, don’t accept them. Jobs in the technology field are turning tables; there are a lot of immigrants who are being called in from their homelands to work and establish their lives here.
As an American born whose been schooled here and later hoping to find a job, it gets a bit challenging. Once you find out that you now have competition amongst people who are coming in from other countries it’s depressing. Not only jobs but colleges acceptances have been even more competitive. I now see more foreign students then students from the US. Any University or state college looks for good grades and a fabulous personal statement, which comes out naturally for foreign students because they go through a lot to work to that level.
Immigrants feel as if they are being mistreated from what I read from an article recently, “Despite being a “melting pot” and a land of opportunity, immigrants are not always well-treated when they come to the U. S. Throughout history, the most recent immigrants to this country have almost always confronted some of discrimination – often they have had to take the hardest, worst paid jobs, and have difficulty assimilating entirely into society. ” When someone knows they are out of place they feel uncomfortable, and once they’re uncomfortable any small little thing seems like discrimination.
As I was reading the article it came to me by surprise that immigrants seem to feel that they are doing the down and dirty jobs while people who were raised here get advantages, which is not the case at all. Technology based jobs are overflowing with immigrants and are wanting many more. It’s just that feeling they get that they seem out of place and cant fit in. Shooting an elephant because you’re pressured into the decision making or an immigrant feeling discriminated are two ideas that conclude feeling out of place.
When you feel you’re out of place and you are uncomfortable and it means you’re torturing yourself. When a person makes a decision they should follow through with it. What if the man never shot the elephant or what if an immigrant never came out here and took someone else’s chance on getting there dream job? Altogether why think “what if” when the act was done. When a person is under pressure he makes decisions he may regret but at the end it doesn’t even matter because the act is already done.
Orwell, George. “Shooting an Elephant.” Orwell, George. Shooting an Elephant. New York: Secker and Warburg, 1950. Print. “Background on Discrimination Against Immigrants”. Causes.