Tuesday, January 17, 2006

George Orwell's Shooting An Elephant

This has always been one of my favorite essays. I've always had a great affection for elephants and the death of this creature is nothing short of tragic.

I had halted on the road. As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant--it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery--and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided. And at that distance, peacefully eating, the elephant looked no more dangerous than a cow. I thought then and I think now that his attack of "must" was already passing off; in which case he would merely wander harmlessly about until the mahout came back and caught him. Moreover, I did not in the least want to shoot him. I decided that I would watch him for a little while to make sure that he did not turn savage again, and then go home.

1 comment:

Dexter said...

Similar to Thoreau's comments from In the Maine Woods about how shooting a moose seemed about as sporting as walking up to your neighbors cow and shooting it in the head.