Reaction to “A Hanging” Essay Example
Reaction to “A Hanging” Essay Example

Reaction to “A Hanging” Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (535 words)
  • Published: December 13, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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"A Hanging" by George Orwell creates a somber atmosphere through vivid imagery and the portrayal of a disturbing subject matter. Having served as a member of the British imperial Police from 1922 to 1927, Orwell witnessed numerous criminals and deaths. However, in this essay, the narrator displays a greater unease compared to others during the hanging. It is possible that this essay depicts an event early in Orwell's career when he was still somewhat inexperienced. The title itself suggests that the main reason Orwell wrote this story was due to the impact of a hanging he witnessed. Through his description of the event, readers can sense the profound debasement Orwell felt as he observed the brutal death. Yet, the discomfort Orwell experienced extended beyond the hanging alone. One of the central concerns in "A Hanging" was h


ow Orwell perceived the treatment of prisoners in Burma. The essay makes it unequivocally clear that Orwell held a low opinion of their treatment. The recurring allegory throughout the story emphasized the unsettling reality that men who had always been at the top of the social hierarchy were treated like animals in prison.

An illustration of the dehumanization of men is evident in Drexel's description of their jail cells. In "A Hanging", Orwell highlights the irony of men being treated like animals by comparing their jail cells to animal cages. The individuals who were once considered masters of animals, now find themselves confined in cages according to the will of their masters (the prison). Additionally, the guards escorting the prisoners to the hanging site are portrayed as treating them like animals, with Orwell describing their grip on th

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prisoners as if they were handling live fish that may jump back into the water. It becomes evident that Orwell observes all aspects of his surroundings, paying attention to even the smallest details. The narrator vividly brings to life various elements, ranging from the color of a man's skin to the pitch of a bugle in the thin air of arm. Orwell's realization of the true weight of the situation occurs when he witnesses a nameless man about to be hanged go out of his way to avoid a puddle and keep his feet dry. This prompts Orwell to question why this condemned man would prioritize keeping his feet dry when he is about to be killed shortly. It is at this moment that Orwell realizes that it is not just a mass being sent to die, but a perfectly healthy human being whose life is soon to be taken from him, along with the impact it will have on his family.

Orwell also observed that the man's body was functioning well and would continue to function well until he reached the angina block. Orwell reflects on how the man's body is still vibrant, and how his "nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling :wrought the air with a tenth of a second to live". It appears that throughout the essay, Drexel urged his readers not only to read his words, but to truly grasp their meaning in order to understand the emotions he experienced in the arm prison.

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