Shooting an Elephant Characters

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The Crowd

The crowd makes itself known through "hideous laughter," the cackling that accompanies the petty acts of revenge which the Burmese inflict on their foreign rulers. This same laughter coercively implies a choice which the narrator cannot escape—the choice between becoming the object of the mob's disappointment and ire, or shooting the elephant, a creature which he knows ought to be left alone. The crowd is not a "Burmese crowd," or even vaguely an "Asian" as opposed to a "Europe-an crowd"; it is a generic crowd, behaving as all crowds do, with less and less reason the larger it grows and with an increasing taste for for venting its collective resentment against some arbitrary victim, here either the narrator himself, conspicuous because of his office, or the elephant, a convenient substitute and safer because, as a non-human, its victimage entails less possibility of reprisal.

The Narrator

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This section contains 344 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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Short Stories for Students
Shooting an Elephant from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.