The Price of Pride
A Closer Look at George Orwell’s “Shooting An Elephant” After receiving the call I quickly sprang to my feet, grabbed a hold of my 44 Winchester rifle, and headed out the door towards town on horseback. When I arrived, I immediately saw the destruction in which the beast had made. The sight of such horror left me in great shock and amazement. I began to search for the animal but what not successful in my attempts. I had then decided to ask the villagers for their help, but very few would hear my words. I was finally able to attain some information on where the beast was at. I then decided to relieve my trusty steed in case it would smell the beast and become frightened and flee. Once I made sure my horse was gone, I turned toward the road to where the monster rested. With the rifle in my hand I was ready to take the life of any animal that would be waiting on the end of the road for me. But I prayed to God that no such decision would occur. These were some of the accounts Mr. Orwell had prior to the shooting of the majestic elephant. The unanticipated choices one is forced to make in life can have long-lasting effects. In “Shooting An Elephant” by George Orwell, the author recounts an event form his life when he was about twenty years old during which he had to choose the lesser of two evils. Many years later the episode still haunts him. The story takes place during the events of the British Raj where Orwell spends five unhappy years as a British Police officer in Burma. He is constantly harassed by the fellow villagers but still feels sympathetic for them. He is torn between the hatred of Imperialism, and the Hatred of the evil villagers that harass him everywhere he goes. He detests the situation in life in which he is in. Yet one day an Asian elephant induced by musth marched into the village and began to inflict damage. Orwell hears of the news and quickly rushes over to the village. He is then faced with a moral dilemma where unfortunately, a valuable work elephant has to die. George Orwell was unjustified in killing the elephant due to the elephant’s temperament, the crowd’s presence, and the elephant’s death. One of the most compelling reasons why George Orwell was wrong in killing the elephant was because of its natural behavior. Part of an elephant’s behavior, particularly an Asian elephant, is the occurrence of musth. According to Dr. K. Radhakrishma Kaimal, a former professor at the college of Veterinary and Animal Services and fellow elephant owner; musth is a change in behavior and the psychological process of an adolescent bull or male Asian elephants. During musth, the male Asian elephant can produce forty to sixty times more testosterone then in the non-must season, most likely explaining its rise in temperament. This seasonal period in time can last as long as several weeks to a few months. When the elephant is going through musth, the mahout or owner must restrict the elephant’s movements by chaining him up by the front and hind legs using a special musth chain that has a seven to eight inch diameter with fitted “U” shaped clamps with strong screws. The elephant is then chained by one of the four legs to either a tree or pillar with a distance of two feet. Though the mahout must be present during the entirety of musth, the elephant must be left alone as it will become agitated by the slightest noise, whether from traffic or people. The musth period is so complex and prolongs such a long period of time that it has been divided into three phases: pre-musth, violent musth, and post musth. In pre-musth, you will begin to notice the changes in the elephant as well as the symptoms will begin to appear.
According to Dr. K Radhakrishma Kaimal, in pre-musth, there will be an increase in swelling of the elephants’ temporal glands which are located on the side of the elephants head. This will cause a discharge of a dirty brown, viscous