In "Shooting an Elephant," why was the narrator called for help when the elephant escaped?

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Vikash Lata eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The elephant was wreaking havoc in the town of Moulmein (now Mawlamyine, the fourth largest city of Myanmar), when the narrator was called for help. It wasn’t a wild elephant, but it was under the attack of “must.” It had broken the chains and fled the previous night. Since it reappeared in the town next morning, it had been causing damage to life and property.  

Its mahout was the only person who could have brought it under control. But, while chasing the animal, he had taken the wrong direction, and was much away from the town when the elephant was causing havoc.

The natives were scared and felt helpless as they didn’t know how to control the situation. Neither did they have guns nor any other means to subdue the giant creature, which had gone berserk. 

“The Burmese population had no weapons and were quite helpless against it. It had already destroyed somebody's bamboo hut, killed a cow and raided some fruit-stalls and devoured the stock; also it had met the municipal rubbish van and, when the driver jumped out and took to his heels, had turned the van over and inflicted violences upon it.”

When the elephant was running amok, the narrator was posted as sub-divisional police officer at the Burmese town. He received a call from the sub-inspector at a police station, located at the other end of the town, requesting him to “come and do something about it.” 

So, we see that when neither the natives nor the local police officers were able to restrain the animal, the narrator was requested to come and tackle the crisis. 

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Shooting an Elephant

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