Shooting an Elephant Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is Orwell's occupation, in the first chapter?

In Chapter 1, Orwell describes himself as a sub-divisional police officer in Moulmein, Burma, back when Burma was a colony of the British Empire.

2. What relationship exists between Orwell and the Burmese natives?

Orwell sympathizes with the Burmese, in principle; however, he can only have so much sympathy for them, as they treat him with contempt, and insult and sneer at him every chance they get.

3. Why did Orwell kill the elephant against his will?

Orwell was hesitant to kill the rampaging elephant, because it was generally tame, and was a "costly piece of machinery." However, he was forced to kill the elephant, because the mob of spectators surrounding him wanted him to, and didn't give him much of a choice.

4. How does the elephant die?

Orwell could have shot the elephant effectively once or twice, but because of his hesitancy, the elephant died a long and painful death.

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