He thus gets down on the ground, takes aim with the powerful elephant gun with cross-hairs in the viewer, and he fires at the elephant's brain. He hits the elephant and the crowd roars. But the elephant doesn't die. A disturbing change comes over it and merely seems to age. He fires again and this time brings it slowly to its knees. But still it doesn't go down. He fires again and it comes back up, dramatically rising on hind legs and lifting its trunk before thundering to the earth. Still however, it remains alive. Orwell goes to it and finds that it's still breathing. He proceeds to unload bullet after bullet into the elephant's heart, but it won't die. The people have swarmed in to steal the meat. Without describing his shame or guilt, he leaves the elephant alive, suffering terribly. He learns later that it took half an hour for the elephant to die. There's some discussion among the other police officers about whether or not he did the right thing. The older ones think he did. The younger ones feel that it's a shame to shoot an elephant for killing a Burmese collie.
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