Wide spectrums of attitudes arise when comparing and contrasting the writings of Gandhi and George Orwell. The oppressive British system of government in India provides the motive for Gandhi’s “Defending Nonviolent Resistance” speech. George Orwell conveys peevishness of the same system–the British government by the shooting of an elephant and the repercussions of the event.
The overall attitude in Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant leans toward resentment of both government and murder, while the overall attitude in Gandhi’s Defending Nonviolent Resistance inclines toward the uprising of government and nonviolent protest.
Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant, set in Moulmein, Burma, displays the author’s resentful attitude toward British Imperialism. The narrator, Orwell, is a European policeman working for the empire in a town where the Burmese greatly outnumber the Europeans. He is given a choice to shoot an elephant that has gone “must” or see it tortured and die a long, drawn-out death.
The narrator resents the fact that he has been put in this position and the consequences of not following through with the shooting. If he does not kill the elephant, he would be shamed by his fellow Europeans and lose their respect. On the other hand, if he does kill the elephant, he would be shamed by the Burmese people and lose their respect. The narrator’s resentment is further amplified when he sees the elephant “…staggering towards me, its trunk lifted for a moment like a snake about to strike” (Orwell).
He is conflicted whether or not to kill the animal humanely or let it die a slow and painful death. The elephant symbolizes the British Empire and its power over the people. In the end, the elephant dies slowly and painfully, dragging itself to the side of a ditch to die. This event causes great turmoil within the town because the elephant was revered by the locals. The shooting of the elephant displays Orwell’s resentment of British Imperialism and its power over the people.
Gandhi’s “Defending Nonviolent Resistance” speech, on the other hand, displays his attitude of uprising against British Imperialism. The speech was given in response to the violence that broke out during the Boston Tea Party. Gandhi urges the people to remember their heritage and take pride in their culture. He asks them to stand up against the British oppressors and fight for their freedom. Gandhi believes that violence is not the answer and that the people should resist through nonviolent means.
He states, “If we could bring ourselves to believe that what we are doing is really worth suffering for–like those great heroes and martyrs whose blood has been shed in India’s cause–we would be ready to suffer thousands of deaths” (Gandhi). Gandhi is willing to die for his cause and he urges the people to do the same. He believes that the only way to achieve freedom is through nonviolent resistance. This speech displays Gandhi’s attitude of uprising against British Imperialism.
Mohandas Gandhi’s Resistance speech and George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant display different attitudes toward British Imperialism. Gandhi’s speech calls for a resistance against the British through nonviolent means, while Orwell’s story resentment of both government and murder. Although they have different attitudes, both pieces call for a change in the way British Imperialism affects the people.
In his speech, Mohandas Gandhi puts an emphasis on the use of non-violence and employs the principle of “spiritual leadership…to achieve political goals through non-violent resistance” (Gandhi 975). Gandhi’s essay highlights the need for Indian freedom. What Gandhi is trying to say overall is that he wanted to avoid violence. (Gandhi 975)
This means that he does not want to have to fight and resort to physical violence in order to get what he wants, which is independence for India. Gandhi believed that if you could get the oppressor to see your point of view and come to an understanding, then they would be more willing to work with you. In his essay, Mohandas Ghandi uses the example of shooting an elephant to explain how non-violent resistance can be more effective than violence.
In George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant”, the narrator is a British colonial police officer in Burma who is hated by the locals. The locals are always throwing stones at him and trying to make his life difficult. One day, a rogue elephant goes on a rampage and the locals tell the police officer that he needs to shoot it. The police officer doesn’t want to shoot the elephant, but he feels like he has to because it’s his job and he doesn’t want to seem like a coward. He ends up shooting the elephant, but he feels terrible about it afterwards.
The point that Gandhi is trying to make is that violence is not always the best solution. In the case of the police officer, shooting the elephant only made him feel worse and did not solve the problem. Gandhi believed that if the police officer had tried to talk to the elephant and reason with it, maybe the situation could have been resolved without anyone getting hurt.
Gandhi’s idea of non-violent resistance is an interesting one. I think that in some cases, it can be very effective. If you are able to get the other person to see your point of view and come to an understanding, then they may be more willing to work with you.
However, there are also times when violence is the only way to get what you want. For example, if someone is attacking you and trying to hurt you, then you may need to resort to violence in order to defend yourself. Overall, I think that Gandhi’s idea of non-violent resistance is a good one, but it is not always possible or practical.
The above quote by Gandhi discuss his feelings towards nonviolence, as well as how it has impacted him and others around him. He writes this to reaffirm his belief that nonviolent protest is more effective than violent measures. This is because the peace involved in the act creates a greater outcome overall, on both those participating and viewing the situation from afar.
Mohandas Gandhi’s famous speech, “Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God” was given during the struggle for Indian independence from British rule. In this speech, Gandhi discusses his thoughts on violence and resistance. He argues that violence is never the answer and that it is always better to resist through peaceful means.
Gandhi begins his speech by discussing the story of shooting an elephant. He talks about how a man in Burma killed an elephant that had gone rogue and was terrorizing the town. The man felt that he had no choice but to kill the elephant in order to protect the people. However, after he shot the elephant, he felt great remorse. He realized that he had only killed the elephant because he felt like he had to, not because it was the right thing to do.
Gandhi then goes on to say that violence is never the answer. He argues that it only begets more violence. He says that those who resort to violence will only end up harming themselves in the end. Gandhi believes that it is always better to resist through peaceful means. He says that when we resist through violence, we are only giving into the enemy’s hands. However, when we resist through nonviolent means, we are showing our true strength.
Mohandas Gandhi’s speech “Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God” is an important piece of writing because it discusses the importance of nonviolent resistance. In a time where violence was seen as the only way to resist, Gandhi’s words were a breath of fresh air. His belief that nonviolent resistance is more effective than violence is something that we can all learn from.