What is the the second main event in "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell is a reflective essay about the nature of colonialism, acting as a critique of what Kipling called "the white man's burden". In the essay, the narrator, a young and naive member of the British-controlled Indian Imperial Police, is asked to deal with a rogue elephant. Before the narrative present of the story, an elephant in musth (a state of heightened aggression in mating season) has gone rogue in a bazaar and killed a man. This can be considered the first main event of the story. Next, the narrator is called upon to deal with the rogue elephant.

By the time the narrator has arrived on the scene, the elephant has calmed down and is no longer a threat. Despite that, the narrator feels called upon to kill the elephant. Because the narrator only has a small caliber rifle, the elephant needs to be shot several times and suffers a slow and agonizing death. The death of the elephant is the second main event of the story.