How is Orwell's attitude toward his job ambivalent?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Orwell is serving as a police officer for the British Empire in Lower Burma, and he writes that the anti-European sentiment in the country is "perplexing and upsetting." His experience makes him feel that "imperialism is an evil thing" and that he must quit his job as soon as possible. On the other hand, he is aware that he feels irrational hatred towards the people he must work with in Burma. 

When he hears that an elephant is destroying the bazaar, he approaches his task of shooting the elephant with great ambivalence. His sense of duty, weak though it is, propels him to grab his gun and go in search of the marauding elephant. Though he knows that he should not shoot the elephant, who is actually doing no harm, the crowd of people urging him on forces him to shoot the elephant to "avoid looking a fool." He feels great ambivalence in shooting the elephant because he knows it is unnecessary, and he feels great ambivalence about working for an empire that only engenders resentment in the people it attempts to control.