“Shooting An Elephant”
h. What purpose does Orwell intend his narrative to serve?
Orwell intends his narrative to show how some people are forced into doing things to not look like a fool. The whole narrative is about how the character feels about his surroundings and his thoughts about what he should or should not do.
j. Orwell spends more time discussing the sociology of the event than about the setting in which it occurs. Explain why doing so is appropriate to his purpose.
Orwell spends more time discussing the sociology of the event because he wants to show the character’s thoughts and feelings throughout the narrative. To the reader, the character is explaining all his thoughts about his short time in Burma. The character explains how he felt about the natives and how he got into the elephant business. Without the sociology of the event, the character’s motives for killing the elephant would not be as justified and reasoned.
k. Why does the author spend so much time narrating the death of the elephant?
The slow death of the elephant symbolizes how people in higher position are actually powerless and that they cannot do what they want. Something great and powerful such as an elephant has to die slowly and painfully. People like the main character have to do what the people say and not do what they themselves want.
The death of the elephant also shows how the character wants to get over with his little adventure in Burma. He explained that he did not like working in as a police officer and that he wanted to leave soon. The elephant’s death made the character want to leave the country even more. He said, “In the end I could not stand it any longer and went away.”
a. In what way is this essay a study in self-deception? Make a specific reference to the text to explain your answer.
This essay is an example of self-deception because the character knows he should not kill the elephant because it is harmless, but does anyways to not look foolish in front of the crowd of Burmans. It is obvious that the elephant had stopped harming people and calmed down, but because of the crowd, the character felt he must kill the elephant to please the audience and himself.
In the passage, the character said, “As soon as I saw the elephant, I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him.” But because of the Burmans, he explained that, “And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it;” The character changed his view of the solution to the elephant problem because of how he wanted to look in front of the public.