Purpose, Audience, Strategy
The first instance in which he sees the elephant he knows he should not shoot him. The whole reasoning behind the shooting was the village. The author was attempting to reason his actions, by blaming the people. He was willed to move forward and shoot the elephant. It seemed that he had been humiliated by the people before so he did not want to look like a fool. He even mentions a time on the football field in which he was tripped by a Burman, the referee looked away and the crowd was laughing at him. This is where he attempts to attain empathy, because of the horrible events to come.
As this was more for the shock value for me I think that the story was intended for people of all opinions this is why he mentions all the different ways it could be looked upon. He talks about the owner of the elephant being upset but because he was only a native his complaints wouldnt have made a difference. Then he speaks of the older men agreeing with his decision to shoot the elephant, and the younger men with their bigotry against the natives calling them coolies. In the end he was glad the one man had been trampled not because he hated the Indians but because it gave him a valid reason for shooting the elephant, what a shame because the true reason was, he was a coward.
Once again the author is trying for our sympathy, what he does for the first few paragraphs even though we already know that there will be a conflict with the elephant was to prepare for the actual act. He talks to the sub-inspector and constable, asking to retrieve a small rifle just to scare the elephant. Describing the impoverished village and how the people were absolutely uninterested until he decided to shoot the elephant. Then there is the moment that he sees the calm creature eating and beating grass upon his knees, he knew then he should not shoot it, but the fear of humiliation had over come him. It was a dastardly act to shoot the elephant.