Hanging Orwell Essay

On By In 1

In this disturbing story, Orwell explores and accentuates the trauma suffered by those who participate in and witness the taking of a human life. The mood is somber and has a surreal quality about it. The almost matter-of-fact narrative indicates that the speaker wishes not to become too intimately or emotionally involved in the situation but does, however, finds himself in a position where he, unfortunately, seems to have no choice because it is his duty.

...

In this disturbing story, Orwell explores and accentuates the trauma suffered by those who participate in and witness the taking of a human life. The mood is somber and has a surreal quality about it. The almost matter-of-fact narrative indicates that the speaker wishes not to become too intimately or emotionally involved in the situation but does, however, finds himself in a position where he, unfortunately, seems to have no choice because it is his duty.

The seemingly exaggerated precautions taken to lead the condemned man to his execution emphasize the unnatural nature of the incident. The condemned man is frail, small, and offers no resistance but is nevertheless heavily guarded and bound. It appears that he has accepted his fate and is calm. In contrast, his would-be executioners are anxious and unsettled. Their discomfort is a further indication that they are not happy about committing a distasteful and abnormal act.     

The prisoner's actions make the narrator realize the enormous brevity of life and brings into sharp focus our shared humanity. He insightfully grasps the fact that what is about to occur is a wasteful exercise. The disconcerting arrival of the dog and its playful acts deliberately contrasts the upsetting seriousness of an impending death with the exuberance of life. Its appearance unnerves the condemned man's captors because they are, at this moment, occupied with the business of death and do not want to be reminded of what life has to offer.

After the execution, the officers and others try to push the incident out of their minds by making jokes and laughing about previous executions. Their attempts are, however, a miserable failure. The tragic event of that day hangs on them like a heavy cloak, and even the superintendent's invitation that they should all have a drink does not lighten the mood. The repeated (almost hysterical) laughter of the narrator and the others illustrates how deeply traumatized they all are for having been party to an abomination.

In this story, Orwell adequately expresses his disdain for what he believes is a violation of all that is natural. Deliberately killing another human being for whatever reason is an atrocity and a crime against nature.

Essay about "A Hanging" by George Orwell

877 WordsJan 10th, 20134 Pages

Higher Question – Choose an essay or a piece of journalism which has made an impact on you because of its effective style.
Discuss how the writer’s style adds to the impact of the content.

“A Hanging” by George Orwell is an influential, autobiographical essay, in which the subject of capital punishment is powerfully examined. The essay is based on a prisoner’s execution in a Prisoner of War camp in Burma during the Second World War. In the essay, Orwell is a prison guard for the camp and carefully illustrates his views on capital punishment. The structure of the essay is of three distinct sections. These sections provide the reader with contrast and repetition, and are grounded in reality but with emphasis on the creative,…show more content…

The reader feels immediately and undeniably sympathetic for Orwell as his strong feeling of entrapment is made explicitly obvious.

As we progress through the essay, Orwell’s creative style becomes even more apparent through his contrasting tone when he has an epiphany that the hanging is wrong. In this section of the essay, a dog has come running into the prison yard, and is very excitable, while the prisoner and the guards are standing, waiting.
“it made a dash for the prisoner, and jumping up tried to lick his face”
This indicates the change in tone, as the prisoner is seen by Orwell as an actual human being, after he dehumanises the prisoner throughout the essay until this point. That the dog is a symbol of the life the prisoner is about to lose, all the freedom the prisoner once had has flitted, leaving no trace of its presence.
“he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path”
The epiphany that Orwell has here forcibly portrays the feeling of realisation by Orwell. Orwell now fully recognises the prisoner to be just the same as him, with his own thoughts, feelings and emotions, just like the rest of us. This makes the reader also realise the horrors of war and how it affects everyone, not just the enemy.

As we reach the end of the essay, Orwell’s clever message of being trapped by a system is made equivocally clear through his literary techniques of repetition and a cyclical structure as the man is hanged but the

Show More

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *