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Analyze George Orwell's, Shooting An Elephant through the eyes of the author of the Moral Instinct Steven Pinker - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Shooting an elephant the moral implications We all have morals which guide us in all our day to day actions. Do we always follow these morals? More often than not we take a decision that seems appropriate at the time and try to justify it when faced with the consequences…
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Analyze George Orwell's, Shooting An Elephant through the eyes of the author of the Moral Instinct Steven Pinker

Download file to see previous pages... This has never been put across more effectively as in the George Orwell’s essay, shooting the elephant. The author is forced by the general expectation to do what he does not believe in. He takes us through his ordeal so that we can understand the reasoning we often undergo in order to make decisions that seem conflicting in our lives. It’s not just the content of our moral judgments that is often questionable, but the way we arrive at them. We like to think that when we have a conviction, there are good reasons that drove us to adopt it (Steve 1).Orwell goes to a great length to try to justify decisions he made in this essay. A great lesson can be learned from his work. The author hated being a police officer. This was because he was secretly against imperialism which he was a part of. He was against the oppression of the Burmese people. He says he hated the job bitterly than he could clearly put across in the essay. He lives a miserable life, since he hates his empire and cannot voice his concerns. The people he seems to care about are against him and they make his life impossible. This is a tough way to live. He hated the conditions of prisoners huddled together and the sight of the oppressed. What keeps him on the job? Orwell tries to draw an emotion from us. He tries to make us fit his shoes so we can see how tough it was for him to quit his job. He was uneducated and young and could not seek employment elsewhere. He would have chosen to quit this job which did not stand his moral grounds rather than stay in unhappy employment. This builds on the fact that people seek justifications for actions they do in order to feel accepted. This is not the only incident that the author is faced with such a situation. He is called upon to kill an elephant which had gone rogue. He describes the pressure he felt. “And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly.” (Orwell 1). What made the matter worse was that the elephant was a tame one. He considered shooting a working an elephant a very serious offence comparable only to destroying a piece of machinery a decision which should have been avoided at all costs. With these strong convictions the reader is almost led to believe that Orwell was not going to kill the elephant. However despite being so against the action of taking the creatures life he goes ahead and does it. In trying to justify his action he claims that he would have looked like a fool. He did in order just to save face. This according to the reader is not a good enough reason but to him it is a reassurance that what he did was right. The oppressor is often viewed to be above the oppressed. Orwell in this situation proclaims that this is not always the case. He realizes that tyranny only jeopardizes the freedom of the oppressor. The tyrant is viewed by the oppressed as being heartless and has to live up to these expectations. The tyrant is not allowed to show any signs of affection or weakness despite them being a part of human nature. One has to spend his life trying to impress the natives and so in every crisis he has got to do what the natives expect. The general expectation was that the white man was not supposed to be afraid of anything. Thoughts of what the people would think in case something went wrong during the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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