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Erin Donlon

Prof. Dzielawa
Comp 101
Shooting An Elephant
the essay, Orwell describes how he lost the ability to act morally. The elephant
appeared to have already passed out of "must," and did not, at that moment, need to be
destroyed. Faced with the mob, however, Orwell cannot afford to buck the mentality of
that mob. The mob is waiting for some excitement and entertainment, and he cannot
afford to disappoint its members. As Orwell describes the scene, the fact that he is
surrounded by locals is emphasized, and this highlights the overwhelming numbers of
people that must be controlled by a relatively few British. Orwell cannot afford to show
any sign of weakness. Thus, he feels, he is forced to kill the elephant. He expound upon
this in this quote, For it is the condition of his rule that he shall spend his life in trying to
impress the "natives," and so in every crisis he has got to do what the "natives" expect of
him. He loses his freedom to act morally.
If the thesis is implied, rather than directly stated, then it deals with a similar but
more detailed thought. Based on the description of the locals, we see that they, too, have
been changed by imperialism. The Buddhist monks, for instance, seemed to have nothing
"to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans," according to Orwell. If the
thesis is implied, therefore, it deals with the idea that both the colonizers and the
colonized are negatively changed by imperialism. Imperialism comes at a cost to both
imperialists and their victims.
Imperialism- a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or
military force.