Shooting an Elephant Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Shooting an Elephant book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Shooting an Elephant, what are some proofs supporting and refuting that George Orwell is right to shoot the elephant?

Expert Answers info

playsthething eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write145 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Arts, and History

George Orwell writes this narratve to make a point about Imperialism. In and around all of the beautiful figurative language he employs, the elephant becomes a symbol of both the oppressed and the oppressors. Orwell presents us with both sides, placing himself in the story in a no-win situation.  He recognizes the limitations of Imperialism at the same time that he recognizes the innocence of the elephant.  He also admits his hate of the Burmese at the same time admitting his fear of appearing foolish in front of them.

The justifications for shooting the elephant include the fact that the elephant has damaged a hut, killed a cow, stolen fruit, and killed a Coolie.  This gives him legal justification. While he recognizes the fact that the elephant's must is passed, he is pressed to shoot the elephant because of the will of the native crowd that has ammassed. He is more concerned with looking foolish in front of them than honoring the life of the elephant or worrying about its owner's...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 580 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

bookM.A. from The University of Alabama


calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial