George Orwell, best known as the political novelist who wrote1984 and Animal Farm, was also a prolific journalist and essayist. "Shooting an Elephant" (1936) grew out of Orwell’s service as a young police officer with the British imperial government in Burma (now Myanmar) from 1922-1927, an experience that helped to make him a lifelong anti-imperialist. In this classic essay, the narrator feels pressured to resolve a problem by taking an action—killing an animal—that runs counter to his own best judgment. The pressure comes not from his superiors in the British colonial government but from the collective will of the Burmese crowd observing the scene. This text offers a clear-eyed and candid look at the isolation of leadership, the difficulty of being a courageous and moral leader in an immoral system, and the complex balance of power between leaders and those they lead.
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Shooting an Elephant: And Other Essays by George Orwell. Penguin Classics, 2003
What assumptions do we make about others?Why is difference sometimes threatening?What do we expect from the people we lead? What do we expect from our own leaders?What makes a good leader?What is power? How does it work?What assumptions do we make about people from different races, ethnicities and cultures?