“Shooting an Elephant”

George Orwell demonstrates dilemmas that are nonpolitical, dilemmas that are way beyond from being political and dilemmas that I took interest in, in his short story, “Shooting an Elephant.”

A nonpolitical dilemma that Orwell brings up is expectations. Orwell describes, “…faces all happy and excited over this bit of fun, all certain that the elephant was going to be shot. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly” (page 560).  Orwell is blunt about the dilemma he is going through but he has an unsure tone. Orwell uses his writing to hide his unsureness by reassuring himself through every sentence. For example, “The people expected it of me and I had got to do it” (page 560).

As Orwell goes on he shows a dilemma that is beyond the political sense which is being true to himself. “…but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to an fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. A sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has got to appear resolute, to know his own mind and do definite things. But I did not want to shoot the elephant” (page 360). Orwell uses assertiveness, “a sahib has got to act like a sahib; he has to appear resolute,” to hide his unsureness of the situation. By using the words “resolute” and “definite” shows he is sure of his actions and thoughts but contradicts himself when using “absurd puppet to describe himself. Also, the unsure tone applies to this dilemma.

A dilemma that Orwell presents that I took interest in is peer pressure. “Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it. I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking like a fool” (page 562). Orwell uses rationalization to feel better about the situation he was pushed into. I took into my liking because I deal with it all the time. My family pressures me all the time to do something that I don’t want to do just to have my future secured and I cope with it the same way Orwell describes it, by rationalizing.


Response To Literature

The short story, “I Stand Here Ironing”, by Tillie Olsen reveals a mistrusting attitude toward government assistance when it came down to getting help for Emily. A quotation that proves it is “They persuaded me at the clinic to send her away to a convalescent home in the country where ‘she can have the kind of food and care you can’t manage for her…'” (94). Olsen being persuade to leave Emily in the home states that she was not all into it. By adding quotation marks to the statement “…’she can have the kind of food and care you can’t manage for her’…’ (94) she shows that her mind is not at ease instead it worries her even more because who else would provide better care for Emily if it is not herself. “They never have a picture of the children so I do not know if the girls still wear those gigantic reed bows and the ravaged locks on the very other Sunday when parents came to visit ‘unless otherwise notified’…” (95). This quotation also states how unsure she is about her decision of admitting her into the convalescent home. The fact of not having updated pictures to show to her, it discourages her and makes her feel the decision is more of a risk than a safe one. Overall Olsen contemplates about receiving government assistance since she is not a  conventional since she raised Emily by herself while managing to work.