In "Shooting an Elephant" why did he shoot the elephant three times?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the essay, Orwell does not explicitly say why he shot the elephant three times, but it seems clear from what he does say that he did not want the elephant to suffer.  He felt sorry for it and wanted it to die quickly.

Orwell says that after the first shot the elephant was clearly hurt but did not really move or anything.  After a second shot, it sank to its knees.  But at that point it was still not dead so he shot it again.

I think we can tell that he felt sorry for it by the way he describes what happens to it.  All the words he uses in this paragraph seem to me to show that he sees the animal as almost human and feels very sad about shooting it.

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Shooting an Elephant

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