Tuesday, August 19, 2008



Audience: The audience is the writer's targeted reader or readers. The relationship between the writer and the audience is critical. You should consider the kind of information, language, and overall approach that will appeal to a specific audience. Here are some questions to ask yourself during the prewriting stage of writing your persuasive essays:
Who exactly is the audience?
What do they know? Believe? Expect?
Will the audience disagree with me?
What will they want me to address or answer?
What type of language will I use? What type of evidence?
What strategies will I use to convince them?

Arguments from the heart are designed to appeal to audience’s emotions and feelings. Emotions can direct people in powerful ways to think more carefully about what they do. In hearing or reading an argument that is heavy on emotional appeals, ask yourself these questions: How is the speaker or author appealing to the audience’s emotions? Why? Always try to name the emotions being appealed to (love, sympathy, anger, fear, hate, patriotism, compassion) and figure out how the emotion is being created in the audience.
Emotional appeals are often just examples - ones chosen to awaken specific feelings in an audience. Although frequently abused, the emotional appeal is a legitimate aspect of argument, for speakers and authors want their audience to care about the issues they address. This is most useful with a sympathetic audience.


Here are some, but not all, techniques that are used in this type of appeal:
• Include an anecdotes-- a moving story that prove your opinion
• Use emotional language or “catchy words” or language that involves the senses to appeal to people’s values or guilty consciences.
• Include connotative language -- the suggestions, associations, and emotional overtones attached to a word

Where do we see this in the Sanders essay?

• Include a bias or prejudice. Omitting or not using information that may conflict with or weaken the author’s opinion.
• predicting extreme outcomes of events/dire predication in order to create a sense of urgency
• Use humor

Loosely defined, logos refers to the use of logic, reasons, facts, statistics, data, and numbers. Logical appeals are aimed at the mind of the audience, their thinking side. Logos can also be arrangement or organization; the author arranges things in a logical order. When a speaker or writer uses logical appeals, he or she will avoid inflammatory language, and the writer will carefully connect its reasons to supporting evidence. This is the most useful appeal with an unsympathetic audience.
Here are some, but not all, techniques that are used in this type of appeal:
• Give logical reasons why your audience should believe you (keep in mind that not all reasons are equally persuasive for all audiences).
• Provide and/or classify evidence that proves or explains your reasons
• Use facts use information that can be checked by testing, observing firsthand, or reading reference materials to support an opinion.
• Use statistics–percentages, numbers, and charts to highlight significant data
• Quote expert opinion––testimony by people who are recognized as authorities on the subject. This is most useful with an unsympathetic audience.
• Cite examples--
• Use cause and effect, compare and contrast, and analogy
• Argue from precedent--this has always been the case.

Ethical appeals depend on the credibility or training of the author. Audiences tend to believe writers who seem honest, wise, and trustworthy. An author or speaker exerts ethical appeal when the language itself impresses the audience that the speaker is a person of intelligence, high moral character and good will. Thus a person wholly unknown to an audience can by words alone win that audience’s trust and approval. Aristotle emphasized the importance of impressing upon the audience that the speaker is a person of good sense and high moral character. Ethos can also mean fairness; that the author or speaker sees the other side.
This is the strongest appeal.
• Make the audience believe that the writer is trustworthy.
• Demonstrate that the writer put in research time.
• Support reasons with appropriate logical evidence
• Show concern about communicating with the audience.

Analyzing a Rhetorical Situation


S – Subject
O – Occasion
A – Audience
P – Purpose of speaker
S – Speaker


Identify these five elements whenever possible to read contextually.

Analyzing a Passage

Consider SLLIDD TOP:

S – Syntax: defining/effective sentence structure
L – Language: type used (refer to ‘language’ words) and connection to audience
(do a SOAPS)
L – Literary devices: metaphor, personification, hyperbole, etc.
I – Imagery: visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory
D – Diction: connotative word choice
D – Detail: concrete aspects of the passage

T – Tone: identify specifically/provide a pair of different yet complementary
tones (refer to ‘tone’ words)
O – Organization: movement in the passage between tones, ideas, defining
literary/rhetorical strategies
P – Point of view: perspective of the passage and significance (do a SOAPS)

Frequently, the argument is a combination of appeals.

HW (p. 302): Read Orwell's "Shooting and Elephant" and answer questions 2 and 4. Regarding question 4, you may converse with other members of the class.


Adam said...

Hello Everyone! Great job on the scavenger hunt today!

Katherine Mellis said...

2. In Orwell’s anecdote, he realizes the true nature of the British empire and is able to form a more educated opinion of imperialism. Orwell feels that imperialism constrains everyone involved for the worse and that such tyranny really lowers the tyrant below the people. After his experience, Orwell does not just despise imperialism for the impact it has had on his own life but he also hates how it takes away his freedom. He realizes that “when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys” (par. 7). While the English seem to be ruling the native peoples, really they are limiting themselves as they try to “do what the ‘natives’ expect of [them]” (par. 7). Finally, when the presence of the natives influences Orwell to make a decision against his better judgment, he understands that, although he may be in a powerful position by title, the people are the ones who hold the real power.

4. Had I been in Orwell’s place, I certainly would not have shot the elephant simply to save face in front of a crowd. To do so would simply be giving in to their cruel intents. Orwell claims to hate imperialism, but by bending under the native crowd’s will, he was acting just the same as those he said he hated. I would have tried to first control the crowd and send them away from the situation so their opinions would not cloud my judgment. You must never underestimate the power of peer pressure, as shown by Orwell’s story. The elephant was calmly eating grass by himself—shooting him was senseless and cruel.

Katherine +2

Ryan Tsoi said...

2. Orwell uses "Shooting an Elephant" to describe his negative feelings about imperialism and the poison such a system holds. By law, he was required to shoot the elephant because it had caused a ruckus in the bazaar and killed a man. However, by his own judgement, he neither desired or felt a sense of duty in killing the elephant. But, due to the law (enforced by the imperialistic British government) that he was pressured to follow, it was an obligation for him to kill the beast. In this sense, the people who surrounded him and persuaded him to kill the animal was like the imperial government breathing down his neck, making sure he does his job. Orwell mentions how he "becomes a sort of hollow, posing dummy, the conventional figure... only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind" (Par. 7). Ultimately, after succumbing too the Indians, he realizes that in this system of rule, it is not the government that rules the nation, but instead it is the nation that manipulates the government for their own desires. Thus, it is people who truly have the power and influence, not the presumed ruling body, who only holds a name.

4. If I were in Orwell's place, whether or not the animal acted up, I would have initially never considered shooting the elephant. I would follow the plan he created step by step, and if it did happen that the beast acted up and began to charge, I would have no regret in capping the elephant in the leg in order to prevent it from hurting any innocent person in the crowd behind me. Nonetheless, the crowd would not have served any influence upon my decision at all, and I would attempt to keep the animal alive if I could. If such useless and mindless violence was unavoidable (even though it probably was), then that animal would be dead quickly and painlessly, unlike how Orwell did it.


Emily said...

2. When Orwell describes this experience, he frequently compares it to imperialism. Although he is the superior European police officer, he is actually not in control; the natives are basically forcing him to shoot the elephant through peer pressure. He writes, “I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroyed…He shall spend his life in trying to impress the ‘natives’” (par. 7). Here, as he loses his own freedom to make his own decisions, he relates to the British imperialists who have to please the natives instead of harshly enforcing their empire.

4. If I had been in Orwell’s place, I would have tried not to shoot the elephant, even though it would have been a difficult choice because of the tremendous pressure. I would not want to displease the natives, who would hate me even more, but I could not even think of murdering an animal. I would not be able to bear the thought of firing so many bullets into the elephant while it is still alive and not being able to alleviate its suffering. To me, maintaining my morals and integrity is more important than pleasing the crowd.

--Emily Liang

Steph said...

2. I think that in Orwell's narrative, he's just a normal guy that realizes the 'right' things and what he 'should' be doing, but instead of taking initiative, he just goes with the flow and follows orders. He was probably just thrown into this job since his father also was a policeman. All he wants to do is be a normal policeman and have people respect him instead of laughing and jeering at him. Working in India, he sees the dark side of imperialism. After seeing how the British empire suppresses the Indian people, the Indian prisoners in stinking cages, grey, dirty, and wretched, he grows to despise the British, his own nationality. His hatred probability also comes from the hate of the people. The people laugh at him and complain about the British everyday that he has come to hate his own people even more. He hates his job, the people, and his people, and says that he wants to quit, but he just follows the British's orders and doesn't just quit right there. his story about the elephant is just like his feelings towards imperialism. He is just thrown into being in position with a gun surrounded by the people. Everyone yells at him and tells him to shoot . He doens't want to shoot and hates the idea of shooting the elephant, but he wants to look good in front of the people and finally be accepted just like how he hates hthe British and wants to quit his job, but never does. the people persuade him to shot and the British force him in that job, and he jsut goes with it.

4. If i was in Orwell's place, i probably would have thought about the smae things as Orwell did like getting closer to the elephant and stuff, but i wouldn't really do that. I probably would have also thought to myself not to succumb to peer pressure since killing a tame elephant is pretty wrong, but it's not as easy to do as it sounds if 2000 ppl were surrounding you and watching you. I think i wouldn't tried giving the gun to a comrade police officer so that they could kill it or if i was the only one i guess i wouldn have just killed it since it kind of is my job to keep the people safe and the elephant did kill another person.

sarzgard said...

2. Imperialism drives Orwell close to the point of insanity. On the one hand he hates the British Empire’s “unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum upon the will of the prostrate peoples,” while “with another part [he] thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest’s guts” (303). His mind, along with all his decisions are trapped: no matter what he does—side with the Empire or side with the vulnerable—he will always feel miserable. Such is the case with the elephant. His gut reacts instantly when he sees the elephant, and he knows what he should do. But torn apart by imperialism’s affliction, he realizes, slowly at first, and then with more confidence, that he “had got to shoot the elephant” because if not, “the whole crowd would laugh at [him] And [his] whole life, every white man’s life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at” (306). Imperialism forces those enforcing it to maintain an appearance of power and authority. It’s rather ironic, because even though Orwell is supposed to be superior to these people (as imperialism requires) he must buckle under their will to maintain this supremacy. For Orwell, this requires sacrificing his morals, and as a result he is miserable, expressed best through his anecdote while he must watch the elephant’s slow, agonizing breaths.

4. I would turn my back to the elephant and face the crowd. Projecting as loudly as possible, I would inform them that I would not shoot the elephant. Regardless of their response, be it silence or jibe, I would explain to them my reasoning: the elephant rampaged through town and destroyed obstructions in his path while in a hyperactive “must” stage, but now that his desires had passed and his mind had calmed, what good could come of killing him? By using logos to explain my decision, I would not look like a “fool,” as Orwell most feared he would. If the crowd further insists that I kill the animal, I would then tell them to stop being so selfish. The Burmans expressed nothing but apathy for the dead coolie (which makes it easier to convince them killing is unnecessary) and only wanted the animal dead for the “show” and food. I would make the Burmans feel like brutes for wanting to kill an animal that is harmlessly eating grass. Here, in an execution of ethos and pathos (ethos—making them feel like brutes; pathos—pointing out the elephant’s benign state) I would prevent myself from appearing a fool by instead appearing as a being with superior morals and sympathy. Then I would walk away from both the elephant and the people to further symbolize my superiority. (Please keep in mind that I’m not actually this vain or believe in asserting superiority over “lesser” peoples; I simply think that this is the best option for Orwell, given his situation, fears, and insecurity.) I 100% agree with Katherine that killing the animal makes Orwell a hypocrite. Though I’m not any more fond of imperialism than Orwell is, I feel like there are ways to cope with the system. Instead of feeling “rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make [his] job impossible,” he could try reasoning with them or sharing his point of view to gain common ground (303). From there, perhaps a relationship of mutual respect could emerge, and his situation of being trapped in imperialism would at least be bearable.


Rachel said...

2. Orwell worked for the British Empire in India, yet he knew that “imperialism was an evil thing” (par. 2). He experienced not only the corruptions of the British Empire, but also the wicked way that the Indians reacted. Since he was around the oppressed Indians everyday, he could see the damages being done to them. When he is being followed by a crowd of people, he thinks, “they do not like me, but with a magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching” (par. 7) Just as they were only temporarily interested in him because of his rifle, the British Empire was only temporarily interested in the wealth that they could achieve through India. Once the British Empire received everything that it wanted, it would leave without another thought about the people living there.

4. If I were in Orwell’s place, I would not physically be able to shoot the elephant. Orwell saw that after he shot the elephant, “he looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralyzed him without knocking him down” (par. 11). Even with all of the natives, who had their expectations of me, breathing down my neck, I do not believe that I would have it in me to kill the animal and watch him die slowly in such a painful manner. Instead I would do my best to watch carefully over the animal, making sure that it did no other harm, until the owner could return.

-Rachel Marty

Rachel Silverman said...

2. I'm going to offer a crazy interpretation. Maybe the elephant represents the countries such as India that are victims of imperialism, while the cheering people represent the governments that support imperialism. Like the elephant, the natives of India and other such countries are normally fairly calm and vulnerable, but occasionally they spontaneously rise up and attack their oppressors (the European imperialists). Like the cheering people, the governments of imperialist countries enjoy seeing the defeat and conquer of a new area, and reaping the rewards from the bare bones of the defeated people. Orwell, perhaps representing an explorer, a missionary, or a military leader, feels pressured by his cheering government to defeat the native people, whose pride and culture is often destroyed by the imperialists and dies the slow death of the elephant.

4. If I had been in Orwell's place, I definitely would not have killed the elephant. The elephant spent all its life unwillingly serving people with no reward, and when it kills one person, all of the inhabitants want to see it dead. Furthermore, the people don't even seem to mourn the dead man, and just see his death as an excuse to kill the elephant. The elephant has ceased to hurt anyone and will go back to the routine of unwillingly serving people, so there is no reason why it should die.

-Rachel Silverman

lauren taniguchi said...

2. In some sense, I believe that Orwell uses the elephant's situation as a comparison to the hardships society would impose on people due to imperialism. Imperialism started for various reasons, but one in particular was that the Europeans thought of indigenous people as inferior. When Orwell states that "they had not shown much interest in the elephant when he was merely ravaging their homes, but it was different now that he was going to be shot" (par. 5). Now that the people have a firmer grasp and more control over the animal/"indigenous" creature, they no longer see the elephant as a threat. Another reason imperialism took place was because empires started becoming part of the people's national identity. Orwell, though he is an officer, does not feel attached to society until he shoots the elephant. After Orwell "pulled hte trigger [he] did not hear the bang or feel the kick--one never does when a shot goes home--but [he] heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd" (par. 11). For the first time, society acknowledged his accomplishment, and that somewhat shaped his identity.

4. I still would have shot the elephant if I was in Orwell's position. I realize that it is cruel to the animal, but in the long run, I would be the minority and I do not honestly think I could face such an immense crowd of people. It would be difficult to pull off a task of killing an innocent creature, but it would also be hard to try and face society. With that many people, my opinions and words in my defense would not get across to them, so I would be the one hunted down instead of the elephant.

--Lauren Taniguchi

Angela said...

2. While depicting his experience, Orwell expresses his negative feelings about imperialism. Orwell calls imperialism and “evil thing” because he hates the empire he is serving for, but, at the same time, dislikes the Burmese for making his job so difficult. He claims that, theoretically, he is all for the Burmese and is completely against his home country Britain, and its imperialistic ways. Even though he has an authoritative rank, Orwell soon realizes that the natives are the ones that truly have the power. Orwell states, “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” (par. 7). Similar to how the nation controls the government, Orwell succumbs to the pressure of the persuading Indians when he decides to shoot the elephant.

4. If I was in Orwell’s position, I definitely would not have shot the elephant. The poor animal was out of his frantic state (which only occurred because he was helplessly chained up) and peacefully grazing, not harming anyone. Even though it would be difficult to overcome the overwhelming stress of the situation, I think it’s idiotic and heartless too shoot the elephant. It was very clear that the elephant was going back to its normal demeanor and had no reason to be shot. I know that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I fired several bullets into a weak and innocent elephant.

-Angela +2

Derek said...

2. Orwell uses his experience in shooting an elephant to convey his disdain toward imperialism. Despite the great economic gains imperialism may bring, it truly is useless because in the end, the imperialists are not the rulers; the native people are. Imperialists are usually far away from their authority--their mother country, and without ready access of orders from their authority, these people have become somewhat insecure of themselves. The native people obviously hate them for their invasion and will do almost anything to show their contempt without actually crossing the line. The natives in Burma spit betel juice on a European woman's dress; they tripped Orwell on a football field; and the Buddhist priests jeered at him (pg. 302). Being treated this way by the people around them and being away from their families would definitely lower the imperialists' sense of security. Orwell describes an "utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East" (pg. 303). Furthermore, although the white man, in Burma for example, is the tyrant and leader, he actually chooses to follow the decisions of the native people. Orwell feels that a foreign leader must impress the natives--do what they expect him to do--in order to effectively make them listen or obey him. Orwell describes that when he stood there in front of the elephant with his rifle in his hand, he felt like an "absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind" (pg. 306). He himself did not want to shoot the elephant, but the natives wanted him to. Eventually, Orwell shot the elephant, representing the weakness of imperialists: if they do not abide by the natives' expectations, then they probably will be looked down upon, and the natives may refuse to allow the rule of imperialism (perhaps with violence, such as rebellions).

4. If I were in Orwell's place, I would have done what Orwell had planned to do: wait it out and see what the elephant does. This elephant is another man's property and is probably very precious to him. If I were to kill it without the elephant harming any person, then it would be as if I stole the elephant from him. However, if the elephant began to react violently, then I would have shot him because people may die if it goes on a rampage.

Derek Lee

Fatty said...

2. Orwell’s experience with the elephant changes his view on the notion of imperialism. Before the incident, his position as a European police officer forced to maintain the imperialist regime gave him “an intolerable sense of guilt” (303), He felt that the native Indians should not be subjugated to the rule of the British; however, when he confronts the elephant, Orwell realizes that the British imperialists are in fact subjugated to the desires of the Indian people. He states that a seemingly tyrannical ruler would have to “spend his life in trying to impress the “natives” and so in every crisis he has to do what the “natives” expect of him” (306). In order to maintain his degree of status, the imperialist ruler would have to commit tasks they do not want to. He would have to ensure that the natives still have some degree of respect for him; otherwise, they might actually revolt against him. As a result, the native Indians dictate the decisions the ruler must make. Therefore, the Indians are not subjugated to the horrible demands of an imperialist society -- the “tyrants” are.

4. If I was in Orwell’s place, I would also be very torn over whether or not to shoot the elephant. I feel that I would be pressured from the crowd to lie down on the ground in a prone position and stare at the elephant through the cross hairs of the rifle. My fingers steady at the trigger, I would not shoot immediately. I believe that my respect for the sanctity of life would prevent me from consciously pulling the trigger. Nevertheless, I do not think that I would stand up and leave. My desire to maintain respect from the crowd would result in my talking myself into actually committing the act. In fact, I would probably remain in a prone position for about thirty minutes (or maybe even an hour). At which time, I’d expect the crowd to get a little impatient and say some potentially rude remarks about me. I believe that if I heard these comments, I would be overcome with a sense of blind rage that I would lose touch with all my conscious morals. I would, thus, pull the trigger, wounding the elephant. However, I would not keep shooting. The brief moment it would take me to pull the trigger again would result in my regaining of consciousness. I would feel guilty for shooting the elephant and would just abandon the scene in an attempt to escape this guilt (I’m a coward when it comes to facing the death of animal, especially one that I was responsible for).

Fatty said...

I forgot to sign

Rohan Puri

Chase said...

II. Throughout this short story, Orwell clearly shows that he does not approve of British imperialism. This is apparent from sentences like "At the time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing", or "I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British." The events in this anecdote describe the problems that occur as a result of imperialism. Even though supposedly the white man is in control in British Africa, Orwell's actions clearly show that the opposite is true; otherwise he would have done what he wanted, not what the crowd wanted. He hates imperialism because it takes away both the freedom of the oppressed and the oppressors.

IV. In Orwell's situation, I would have shot the elephant. This is because of the circumstances he describes so correctly; it was the crowd that was in control, not him. They wanted a dead elephant, and if they had not been appeased he would likely have payed with his life. While all life should be protected, the choice between an elephant's life and mine is easy.
- Chase " +2 " Wheatley

Brewer said...

2. Orwell’s feelings about imperialism are those of disgust and corruption. He finds it backwards that people are forced to support something so distant just for meager power and hatred from the people that they are trying to control. Orwell gives his true feelings about imperialism and its consequences when he pronounces, “when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he destroys” (Paragraph 7, Orwell). As Orwell carries his gun to investigate the elephant, he compares himself to a “posing dummy” and the “conventionalized figure of a sahib,” revealing his raw feelings about what he felt he was as he represented not himself, but what he was expected to be (Paragraph 7). As he looks back on the experience through his anecdote, he feels that he had been manipulated by imperialism to betray himself, performing on how he thought he should act instead of how he wanted to, and feels obvious regret for his horrific actions.
4. Orwell was in a difficult place, trapped between what he knew he should do because of his duties and what he knew he should not do because of his morals. I felt that his reasoning for shooting the elephant was not impressive enough for him to discard his own views in exchange for a laughter free future from the natives. I believe that his conscience would sting more than the laughter of people who had no heart. Besides, he had plans of moving away and beginning his writing career anyways which would have evacuated him from any possible humiliation. The bottom line is that I would not have shot the elephant. My conscience would have destroyed me for taking its life when the whole crisis could have possibly been avoided.


Matt said...

2. Orwell uses the shooting of the elephant as a anecdote to describes his feelings about imperialism. He finds that imperialism does not bring him above the people he watches, but rather he is lower then them. He writes, " Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd--seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality i was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind" (306). Imperialism seems to give him a false sense of power or the illusion of power. Therefore, he despises imperialism. The anecdote helps illustrate this idea because Orwell would not have shot the animal if there was no the crowd behind him. but, because they are he is forced to shoot the elephant.

4. if i was put the the same position as Orwell i would not shoot the elephant. I would actually do the exact opposite of what the crowd wanted me to do. To try to show that them that i have the gun; i have the power!

Carl vR said...

2. Orwell's anecdote displays his feeling that imperialism gives too much power to those who should not possess it and how the system corrupts people's thoughts and actions. To the people, Orwell is, as he mentions, like a performer on stage (Paragraph 7). Since he is essentially an outsider, the population in India views him as an object for their amusement. The fact that solely plain citizens force him into shooting a rather innocent creature means he has a low status in their eyes despite a grand scale of capabilities. His existence tarnishes their views of other human beings because they treat him as inanimate. He also expresses how he gains too much power with his position since he is able to kill the elephant without it really showing chronic aggression. Imperialism grants him this privilege since England technically controls the area. He would not have to perform such evil if the policy did not allow such actions that are beyond the bounds of a foreigner to decide. Orwell even mentions that the owner of the elephant "was only an Indian and could do nothing" (Paragraph 14). Surely, he states this remark with a touch of disgust towards himself since he has an almost supreme power in the area. This story clearly conveys his aversion to imperialism with his thoughts about every action.

4. I would first pretend to be very unsteady with the gun to show a lack of experience. Thus, their expectations would have to be lower for my performance. I would clip one of his legs, so he twinges downward. With three other bullets, each bullet would clip a different leg, so he probably would fall down which would make the crowd somewhat pleased, while the elephant could still recover later. The last shot in that gun I would try to remove without the Indians noticing it. The point would be to entice the crowd, prevent the owner from being justifiably angry, and to keep myself from feeling guilty for killing the elephant. I think this course of action is more logical choice because people will not automatically turn against an offense of a smaller scale. My last action would be to explain to the owner that he should have a better way of keeping the elephant from escaping and tell the witnesses that they should feel safe from the elephant. That action would hopefully put me in a more human role in their eyes.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
avptv said...

2. Orwell uses the anecdote of his shooting an elephant to illustrate his negative feelings toward imperialism. About the elephant, Orwell writes, "he took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he might charge if you went too close to him" (307). Here, the elephant parallels the countries that suffer from imperialism. If you leave a country alone, it will do nothing. However, only by "coming too close," ie taking over the country, will the country react. Going to close to the elephant causes the elephant to charge, just as subjecting a country to imperialism will cause struggles and, likely, revolts in the country. The anecdote of the elephant illustrates Orwell's feeling that imperialism is wrong. Orwell doesn't want to shoot the elephant, just as he doesn't truly want to be a part of the imperialism; however, despite his views, he still plays a part in both.

4. If I had been in Orwell's place, I would not have shot the elephant. True, the elephant had killed a man. However, during the instant that Orwell shoots the elephant, it is no longer reacting violently toward humans. The elephant had killed the man during a state of "must," but it was no longer a threat after that. It is wrong to kill an innocent creature. Since the elephant was no longer displaying violent tendencies, I believe that there was no reason to kill it. In addition, Orwell shoots the elephant "solely to avoid looking a fool" (309). If Orwell had shot the elephant in order to protect the crowd, that is understandable. However, to take a creature's life simply to avoid a crowd laughing at you is wrong. Though peer pressure (especially coming from a huge crowd) can be very persuasive, if I had been in Orwell's place, I would have refused to shoot the elephant, unless the elephant was endangering others.

Audrey Virginia Proulx, +2

mackdaddymario89 said...

2. I think Orwell wouldn't have shot the elephant had the Burman crowd not followed him to see the elephant shooting. Many times, Orwell hesitates because he feels guilty to shoot the seemingly peaceful elephant. Each time however, the Burman crowd's "will" corners Orwell and leaves him basically no choice. This represents his position as an officer for the British Empire. Orwell himself is against imperialism, but his superiors leave him no choice but to follow orders. Both Orwell and the Burman people hate the imperialism, but Orwell has no choice because it is the "will" of the British Empire.

4. If I were in Orwell's place, I would not have shot the elephant. I think Orwell's original idea was correct, had the elephant charged at him and tried to trample him, he could and should have shot in self-defense. However, the elephant was now calm and simply eating, bothering nobody. The day could have ended with no bloody elephant kill; Orwell/I should/would have waited with the calm elephant until the handler returned and safely led it away.

mackdaddymario89 said...

o and I forgot to sign my name
-Alan Tuan

Samantha Smith said...

2. Orwell's feelings towards imperialism are strongly illustrated when he shoots the elephant. Orwell knows that he does not want to shoot the elephant and that it is morally incorrect to do so. However, when under pressure, Orwell's actions are overcome by the opinions and actions of the crowd. Soon, Orwell learns that it is his duty to shoot the elephant and that he must act accordingly. Even though Orwell was under great pressure from the people, it is both he and the people who pressure him to shoot the elephant. Orwell refuses to face the people without killing the elephant because he believes that "the crowd would laugh at [him]" and that "every white man's life in the East was one long struggle not to be laughed at" (par. 7 p. 306). By shooting the elephant there is an impression Orwell makes, and he knows that "he shall spend his life in trying to impress the 'natives' " (par. 7 p. 306). Orwell loses himself when he becomes an object of the people.

4. Had I been in Orwell's situation, I would not have shot the elephant for the same reason Orwell did. I would have tried to watch over the elephant, making sure it did no harm to any person. If the elephant was acting chaotic and causing great damage, then I would have killed it in order to protect the people because it was my job. Had the elephant not been doing anything harmful, strictly just being loose without its proper owner, I would have waited for the owner to return to claim the elephant.

KelseyShmelsey said...

2. Previosly, Orwell seemed conflicted about imperialism as he had viewpoints that sided with both: wanting "to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts" but also "the british raj was an unbreakable tyranny". The incident forces him to recognize that the burmese themselves play a much bigger role in perpetuating his distaste for imperialism. From the outside one would think that England is culpable for imposing their force on a defenseless people, and his only real beef with the burmese is that they are scornful toward him for being the English enforcer of laws. However, this situation forces him to acknowledge how much power the people themselves wield as his ultimate decision is based off going along with what will appease them no mattter how "absurd" it is. As opposed to what one would logically conclude that the English make him a puppet of their agenda, the people make him the puppet.

4. In an ideal situation, I would love to stand up for the rights of this majestic beast and ride it off into the wild to release it to roam for the rest of its days; however, the central issue here is not animal rights, its about whether or not u would allow yourself to become "hollow" and controlled by a group of people. Standing from afar i would like to say i would resist this peer pressure, but i do not think this is realistic. His point about imperialism is that the conquered peoples actually have greater negative effect then realized so if i was in this situation i don't think i would be able to overcome this force either, plus i would have an awesome story about killing an elephant.

Shanika said...

2. I thought of an interpretation very similar to Rachel's. I believe that Orwell used this anecdote because it accurately describes the relationship between Burma and England while simultaneously embodying his feelings towards imperialism. Let's say that the elephant represents Burma, and Orwell represents England. The elephant was punished far more harshly than it deserved, since its value alive far outweighed the extent of its 'crimes' and its worth dead. This is just like the people of Burma, who act out against England in minor ways, as Orwell described when he recounted the treatment he received from the people of Burma, but who end up being punished and oppressed far more harshly than their minor digressions against the English government merit. Although it is Orwell who pulls the trigger and kills the elephant, he has no desire to kill the creature. This perfectly reflects the way Orwell feels about imperialism at the time this passage was written: although he supports it by being an English sub-divisional police officer, he secretly hates exactly what he is enforcing; which is exactly like the killing of the elephant, where Orwell acts without supporting his actions. If the elephant represents Burma and Orwell represents England, then this anecdote perfectly reflects Orwell's feelings towards imperialism.

4. Had I been in Orwell’s place, I definitely would not have shot the elephant simply because, unless I were in certain mortal danger, which Orwell assess before he kills the elephant that he is not, I would never have the heart to hurt such an amazing and intelligent animal. However, had I been Orwell himself, and had the same moral values, I might see the situation slightly differently. Being surrounded by people who do not accept you cannot be pleasant, and no doubt Orwell was desperate not to give the natives of Burma yet another thing to jeer at him for, but his motivations for killing the poor elephant were by no means cause enough to kill the creature. Had there still been danger and had the elephant still been a threat to the safety of people, perhaps an instance might have occurred where killing the elephant would have been warranted, but Orwell specifically explains that not only had the elephant calmed down, but the idea of approaching the elephant and testing to see if the elephant was still violent is out of the question in his mind because on the off chance that the elephant did charge him and attack him, it would be far too embarrassing to be killed in front of the Burmese natives, so he is not even willing to try a scenario in which the elephant’s live would be spared. Killing the elephant was by no means alright to do simply to avoid an embarrassing situation. In fact, to some Orwell would no doubt have seemed a hero: the elephant was very, very valuable, and being able to spare it would have been the most beneficial thing to do for the Burmese. Now, Orwell must live with the memory of torturing the elephant for the rest of his life. In Orwell’s situation, I would not have killed the elephant.

Shani Gilmour

dontgotaname135 said...

2. Orwell shoots the elephant in reaction to his feelings of imperialism. Near the beginning of the essay, he describes his feelings of dislike towards imperialism and how he feels just as confined by it as everyone else. To break from the pressure and lack of freedom, he becomes what he refers to as a "puppet pushed to and fro"(par 7). He loses his strength due to the pressure he feels from the people and shoots the elephant just to please them and not look like a fool. Although it's imperialism that makes him act a like a puppet and then fool.

2. I have to say I really respect the people who admit that the pressure would be too much and they would fall for it, because when it all comes together, none of us have faced that kind of pressure. It's hard to say that I would never consider killing the elephant, because I would think about it. And I would turn around and look at the crowd, then face the elephant. I can't even being to describe the kind of torment that I'd probably feel, just left their with my thoughts--and not thorough, logical, complete ones--the thoughts where you just kind of mumble to yourself and can't make complete sentences. However, as much as I would want to shoot it for my own benefit, I just couldn't hurt the animal. As I said, I have never felt that pressure, but I could never kill; especially for someone else's entertainment.


Carole said...

2. Orwell's feelings toward imperialism are bitter. He sees the effects of imperialism on a daily basis and the scarred faces of the Burmese scare and anger him. However, he has little sympathy for the Burmese either because of all the jeering and taunting that he receives from them. The anecdote illustrates this feelings by showing the pressure he feels from the crowd to shoot the elephant. He wishes to impress the crowd, yet some part of him knows that shooting the elephant is wrong. He appears to be "the leading actor of the piece," yet he knows that he will give into the will of the crowd and become the "absurd puppet pushed to and fro" that the white man is in the face of imperialism. Orwell wishes to be the one in power, yet the two thousand or so people in the crowd are the ones that wield the real power.

4. Ideally, if I were in Orwell's situation, I wouldn't kill the elephant. After all, the only harm it's doing at the moment when Orwell sees it is to the grass. Orwell was in the wrong when he pulled the trigger and killed the animal; however, it would be hard not to succumb when two thousand people are egging you on to pull the trigger. So, in the end I would probably kill the elephant even if I knew it was wrong and cruel.


Mark said...

2. With his own intimate view of the British imperial system, Orwell is free to make criticisisms from his own experiences. Not just from what he's read or heard. What he has seen makes up what he believes. What he does see is hatred. The Burmans hate the English. The English hate the Burmans. The English hate that they're forced to carry out a brutal system and the Brumans sure as hell don't like be the ones carried out on. Using his own observations, Orwell finds that the only ones who benefit from this system are not the English people or the Burmans, only those who have vested interests in perhaps trade or some sort of product in the region or an agressive general would have any sort of desire to use an imperialist system.

While Orwell may have done it for the wrong reasons, (peer pressure) he made the right descision. The elephant was a mad elephant not a peaceful bovine like creature. He had already killled one person and had wreaked havoc on the small Burmese town. On any scale, I think human life measures out far much more than any animal. A human has, thoughts and feelings while an animal lives on instinct and urges. Orwell's killing of the elephant allowed him to save face, maintain order, and stop the elephant from doing any further damage.

Maia said...

2. When Orwell uses the anecdote of the elephant to describe imperialism, he is trying to show that imperialism is not really the british being in complete control of the indians. Although they are the rulers of the country, they must still bend to the expecations of the indians. Just like Orwell didn't want to shoot the elephant and did anyway, the british often make choices they dont' want in order to look good and keep a high status amoung the indians. as tyrants the british can no longer do what they want for fear of making fools of themselves and do not make thier decisions based on thier real beliefs anymore.

4. If i was Orwell i would not have shot the elephant. The elephant was not harming anyone and there was no reason to take its life. The crowd was just hungry for entertainment. Orwell should have left the crowd alone. he did not have a good reason to kill the elephant since it was not hurting anyone. orwell was also disrespectful to the elephants owner who would have probably been happy to see the elephant alive. Orwell should have told the crowd that it is wrong to hurt a harmless creature and to stay out of its way. He especialyl should not have given into a crowd of people he disliked so much and should not have listened to them instead of doing what he knew was right.

Emily said...

2. Orwell strongly believes that imperialism is evil for several reasons. First off, it is clear that when the shooting of the elephant took place, Orwell's thoughts and opinions on every aspect of his life and job were skewed. He had almost no sense of right and wrong, and when his conscience kicked in and told him what was right and wrong, he never listened. From the very beginning, however, Orwell was sure of tyranny's negative impact on society. He mentions that when one assumes complete power and invades other people's homelands, he not only destroys the freedom of those he conquers, but in addition, he sacrifices his own freedom. By mentioning the Tyrant's loss of freedom as well, Orwell means that when one assumes enough power to control mass populations, he becomes corrupt and loses his own sense of right and wrong. Also, Orwell uses the introduction of modern weaponry, (whose presence in society would not exist without imperialism), to show destruction of nature when modernity imposes itself. WIthout imperialism, rifles would not exist in this village; and without the rifle, nature would be preserved. (Nature=Elephant in a sense).

4. Before reading Orwell's story, I read the questions we were assigned so that I would know what to look for. That said, with the questions in mind, my opinion on what to do in Orwell's case shifted several times throughout the story. First off, I disagreed with Orwell's decision; however, when learning of the killing that the elephant had committed, I knew for certain that the elephant had to be killed. When Orwell went to observe the elephant, rifle in hand, my opinion was challenged once again as well. Now, the elephant was peacefully standing in a field, and appeared harmless to Orwell himself. If I were in his position, I would have listened to myself and tested the elephant's danger by walking near it, despite the possible danger. Overall, if I were given an ultimatum and had to decide, I would have killed the elephant as well. He blames killing the elephant on the crowd's encouragement and the defense of his own ego; however, I would not kill it for the same reasons. When put in perspective, Orwell's decision was not a stupid one. The elephant killed a man, destroyed homes and livestock, and caused more destruction than his own worth. In the end, it is safer assumer the worst and kill the elephant in order to save lives.

Emily said...

I just want to say Amen to Kelsey...

Michael said...

2) Orwell feels that imperialism is very bad, in spite of his role as a perpetrator of it. He describes the unforgivable human rights abuses so common in imperialist societies in a disapproving and horrified tone. However, Orwell also mentions the practical disadvantages of imperialism. In order to feel above the people they oppress, white people in India felt pressured to impress the natives even to the extent of sacrificing their own morals. In becoming the leaders they allowed themselves to be led.

4) I would have shot the elephant, though not because of the crowd's wild cheering. The voracity with which the crowd desired the meat of the elephant suggests a good deal of hunger in the region of India where Orwell lived; therefore, the killing of the elephant would have yielded enough meat to, in all probability, save plenty of children from acute malnutrition. In any case, the elephant would provide more meat than several smaller animals, and it is more morally correct for fewer animals to die as opposed to more. The crowd, though I do not like to admit it, might influence my decision, but since I see shooting the elephant as the morally correct choice, it could only strengthen my resolve.

Simon said...

2. Orwell's notion of imperialism is such that he seems to have been placed in India with the mindset that he was better than the people there, but as time wore on, he began to wonder about that. The people around him mock his "authority." When he plays soccer, he is tripped and harassed by the Burman players (302). He resents the Imperialist system and the ordeals it puts him through. By killing the elephant, he, the white man with a gun standing in front of crowds of "yellow" men, is trying to reassert his supremacy. He is proving that he is indeed different from the groups of people that he helps to govern. He is the big man, the man with a gun, in front of all of the unarmed, "less civilized" people. Its his gun and his authority to kill an elephant that set him apart from his "subjects." Orwell consequently comes to dislike the imperialist system that makes him do things that he really doesn't like just to try to keep his reputation up.

4. I don't think I would kill the elephant. I'm a pretty disappointing person in situations like that. Chances are high that I would sit there with the rifle for a long time weighing the possibilities and the potential outcomes of each of the options. It would be a long, drawn-out process, but I wouldn't be able to take a life. Especially if it was present-day Simon in Orwell's position. I can understand how Orwell wanted desperately to earn the people's respect, but I don't even think their respect is worth a life -- even an elephant's life. It's like the scene in the beginning of "Batman Begins," where Batman is ordered by Raz al Gul to behead the farmer-turned-murderer in the dojo on the mountain. Batman refuses, and he's told that his compassion is a trait his enemies will not share. He says that it is that reason that it is so important that he has compassion; it differentiates him from his enemies. By refusing to kill the elephant, Orwell (or I) would be staying apart from the throngs of people gathered. We(?) would prevent ourselves from becoming someone who enjoys the thrill of a death of a large animal like the villagers do. In actuality, not killing the elephant would be a stronger testament to the imperialist system than the actual killing would be.


sarzgard said...

Oops, after reading the responses I realized I did number four incorrectly. So instead of saying what I would do... I will now say why I would do it... haha. So I wouldn't shoot it because I don't think I could live with the weight of guilt. Perhaps I would even have an easier time manslaughtering someone than I would killing an innocent elephant. The elephant did no wrong to me, and though it may have crushed a couple houses, decimated a village or two, killed a guy here and there... well it's not like it knew what it was doing, and I can't hold it responsible!

Then again, perhaps killing the elephant was manslaughter. Orwell didn't mean to kill the elephant, as was established when he first saw the creature. But with peer pressure and internal conflict, suddenly he just lost it and shot it. Still, I feel like if I were him, something would stop me. At the risk of looking like a fool--well I personally don't care about looking like a fool--I would just run away like a lipid would from water.

But don't worry, I promise not to manslaughter you even if you really anger me. But if you really really really anger me... well that's a different story. Hm. Maybe I shouldn't joke about murder?

But the elephant didn't anger me, so why would I rationally shoot it?

That is why I think Orwell was irrational. I guess I'm not sure whether or not I would act rationally in the situation. But in general I often suck at giving in to peer pressure so I think I would be rational? I can't grasp the gravity of peer pressure and other factors that affected Orwell's decision. Perhaps he himself did not know what it was that made him do it.

Anyway, Kelsey and Michael Darrow, if I had a trophy-making-machine, I'd make you trophies.
Multiple trophies.

sarzgard said...


Chase said...

Latest post!