Similarities in “Salvation” and “Shooting an Elephant”
Conformity is a part of life all must cope with. Society demands people to fulfill certain roles or actions. This can be seen in George Orwells “Shooting an Elephant”, and Langston Hughes' “Salvation.” In both works of literature the main characters are pressured to conform into what society desires from them, whether it is shooting an elephant, or feigning seeing God.
In George Orwell's “Shooting an Elephant”, the narrator of the story, a police officer, was on duty in Burma. During that time there was European settlement in this country, thus creating an anti-European atmosphere within the country. He stated that his sympathies are with the Burmese people, but being a police officer, made him a symbol of tyrannical power in the country; he needed to follow his duties. He was constantly badgered by the town's people. The police man received a call regarding a normally tame elephant's rampage and he headed towards the rice fields where the elephant in question has last been seen. He proceeded to hear contradictory reports on the incident that occurred; he questioned whether or not to shoot the elephant, but after he saw the corpse of an Indian trampled by the elephant he ordered a gun and went to kill the animal. The narrator locates the now tranquil elephant in a field. He suddenly understands that, although the elephant no longer poses a threat, the crowd's expectations of killing it will force him to do it. He must kill the elephant because the crowd will otherwise laugh at him, “And if that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh. That would never do.”It is important to not that when he first saw the elephant he did not want to automatically shoot the elephant, “I often wondered whether any of the others grapsed that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.” The narrator fell into peer pressure and followed what his surroundings 'forced' him to do.
In Langston Hughes'...