A characters courage is not measured by how an action will be accepted by others, but by how their actions stay true to themselves even in the face of a pressured surrounding. Colin McDougall’s The Firing Squad a story about a young soldiers attempt at redemption and George Orwell’s Shooting an Elephant an essay about Orwell’s days in a British colony where he was called to handle the situation with an aggressive elephant are two pieces of literature that demonstrate the effects of courage. Courage takes many forms and in these two great pieces of literature it can be measured by looking at the characters and how they use courage and lack of courage as a driving factor in different ways throughout their story’s.
Captain John Adam and
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The truth is while he may have thought his decision was courageous, it fails in the end as he sees he should have done the right decision and see past his own want for redemption and refuse the offer. He does however pull the most courageous act and refuse to kill Jones right before the execution, saving a life but putting a burden on himself. This act of defiance takes more courage than declining the offer in the first place. Adam’s final decision off refusing to fire, his eagerness, and his want to show the world he was not a coward drives him to make decisions and demonstrates how he wishes to be shown as a courageous soldier.
George Orwell’s character also shows how he wishes to be more courageous than he seemed to be. Sadly Orwell fails to act appropriate to the situation and fails to accomplish his inner courageous goal. Orwell fails because he followed what was wanted by the people and not what was right in his mind as well as not accepting that he made the wrong decision.
Afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if its owner fails to control it. Among the Europeans opinion was divided. The older men said I was right, the younger men said it was a damn shame to shoot an elephant for killing a coolie, because an