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The Pitfalls of Conformity

Although he believes that it is not necessary to kill the elephant and doing so will be costly to its owner, he nevertheless goes on and kills it to please the crowd. This does not mean, however, that the English officer deserves any sympathy. The English have forced themselves on a people who do not relish their intrusion into their sovereign land. The right of the Burmese people to its sovereignty has been violated, which it could not properly vindicate because of their inferior resources. Their only weapon is to make the English feel unwelcome and uncomfortable as much as possible. If at all, successfully pressuring the officer to follow the will of the Burmese villagers is a vindication for them. Nonetheless, although not much sympathy can be heaped upon the English police officer, the killing of the elephant, which turns out to be really brutal as the huge animal refuses to easily die, presents an agonizing experience even to the reader. In the end, the English police officer is deprived by crowd pressure from acting on the matter in accordance to what he thinks is right and proper under the circumstances. The tragedy in this story is not of the English officer alone but shared by the crowd as well because it deprives them of the opportunity to gain better insight and act accordingly. The ability of a highly conforming society to contain new and opposing views from a very small minority can result in the acceptability of a perspective, which in truth is morally questionable. Moreover, this could lead to an erroneous point-of-view to go through unopposed and eventually be established in the public consciousness as part of custom and tradition. In the dark and chilling short story The Lottery by Jackson (1948), the villagers have accepted as part of village life the annual holding of a lottery where all the