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    A Literary Analysis of Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

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    In Orwell’s essay “Shooting An Elephant” he describes the way he felt about the decisions he had to make and the pressure he was put under by all of the people around him. He emphasizes the fact of him being a police officer that was put in a situation that entitled him to make the people of his town feel safe and secure about the life that they were living. It was clear that Orwell did not enjoy his job, as a matter of fact he hated it. The type of things that went on everyday really angered him and made him realize how much he disliked his situation. Nevertheless, he did have a job to do and that required him to do things that he might not have normally done.

    Orwell discusses the time he had in the town when a wild elephant got loose and was terrorizing the town’s bizarre. He was sent to the location of the elephant and was forced to make a decision that would determine possibly how he was looked upon by all people from that day forth. Orwell was not the kind to just simply kill something for the mere fact of joy and amusement. He did not want to kill the animal for being wild and dangerous towards the people. He seemed to try to convince himself that all animals go through this stage, however he could not face the fact that the people would think of him as a coward.

    Orwell made it obvious that he did not feel that it was the right thing to do. However he also brought it to the reader’s attention that the reason he did kill the elephant was because he felt he couldn’t face the people if he didn’t. He says, “To come all that way rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away having done nothing no, that was impossible(page 210).” It seems as if Orwell feared he would be thought of as a coward if he did not kill the animal.

    I have been in a similar situation to the one that Orwell encountered with the elephant. There have been many times in my life that I have felt the pressure to do something because I was afraid of what others might say if I didn’t do it. One situation comes to mind immediately. When I was in my junior year of high school, I was faced with the challenge by my friends to jump off of a bridge into a lake below. I had done this type of thing off of cliffs before, but never from this height. This was a challenge that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do, but I didn’t want to look like a coward in front of my friends.

    As it turns out I gave into the peer pressure and afterwards I realized what an idiot I was. The challenge was to jump off of the 1-26 bridge that passes over Lake Bowen in Inman, South Carolina. It was about a 90 foot jump into water that was only about 15 feet deep. Needless to say I was not too sure about what I was doing, but I stepped up to the wall and closed my eyes and leaped out as far as I could. It was a great rush once you realize that you were going to live. However, climbing through the woods back to the top to get your clothes was another story.

    That was just one of my crazy experiences with peer pressure. I realize that I could have come out of that event really hurt or possibly dead, but ever since that night I have felt as if I could live up to any challenge. That might not be a good thing, but I think that it was something that helped me realize that peer pressure can work both ways. It can end up being something you really regret or it could end up being one of the most exciting moments of your life. However, everyone must make their own decisions about things like that, because it is going to effect you for the rest of your life. I think my situation is very similar to that of Orwell, only I donit regret what I did because it made me want to rise to just about any challenge. Hopefully this experience won’t lead me to take anymore risks that could lead to a problem.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    A Literary Analysis of Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell. (2022, Dec 15). Retrieved from

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