In "Shooting an Elephant," what are at least three arguments that support George Orwell's justification for killing the animal?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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[The question which asked for a persuasive paragraph had to be edited as Enotes does not provide students with paragraphs or essays]

The incident of the rogue elephant that has destroyed a bazaar and killed a man causes Orwell an undesired involvement as he is summoned to do something about the situation. This incident proves enlightening to Orwell as it presents him with

...the real nature of imperialism--the real motives for which despotic governments act. 

Despite his distaste for his involvement in this situation, Orwell finds that as a representative of British imperialism he must act by doing certain things. 

1. He must display his authority:

A white man mustn't be frightened in front of "natives."

Orwell knows that he must not hesitate to act.

2. Orwell must not put himself in a position in which he can be mocked.

He must shoot the elephant because if he waits to see how the elephant acts when he approaches, he could be trampled and "it was quite probable that some of them would laugh."

3. Orwell must act according to the law. Orwell states that he has done the right thing legally, at least:

...a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it.

Personally, Orwell is relieved that the coolie has been killed because his death provides him with "sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant."

Sources:

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