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Date Created: 08/25/14
Turn it in ID Mason Lynaugh 11314 English 4 Period 3 Harry A Hanging Essay This man was not dying he was alive Orwell 2 In A Hanging George Orwell crafts what may have been a memoir about a routine execution at an Imperial British Police station in Burma Throughout the experience he narrates the story from the perspective of an observer or a new inductee into the station The execution is no more than a routine to most of the men but Orwe fresh and not yet jaded experiences an epiphany during the process As the narrator Orwell presents the unspeakable wrongness of cutting a life short when it is in full tide and crafts a realist theme a decrying of the nonchalant nature of this execution 1 Through the use of symbolism tone and point of view George Orwell draws attention to a process he deems inhumane the death penalty When approaching the gallows the narrator prisoner and escorts encountered a dreadful thing 1 They encountered a dog a manifestation created by Orwell for the purpose of acting in juxtaposition to the humans This dog is symbolism for the inhumanity of the procedure and the animal is present in order to breathe a contrasting ideal into the situation by acting as a perplexed spectator For example the dog was wild with glee at finding so many human beings together during the procession toward the hangman 1 The dog s natural reaction it s assumption to be joyful at the sight of gathering and commotion is contrary to the true nature of the event It is a similar effect as if a child were to ask why a parent was taking a sick cat to the vet to be put down and it draws attention to the inhumanity of the execution The second encounter with the dog occurs when the prisoner begins clamoring to his god While the prisoner cried Ram Ram Ram the dog answered the sound with a whine 2 This point in the tale is emotionally strenuous because the prisoner s panic is almost tangible through the lastditch cries to a Hindu god In this case the dog is relating to the prisoner wailing with him in order to emphasize the epiphany regarding the prisoner s humanity that the narrator undergoes The dog once again serves as a symbol for untainted humanity Later the dog gaoped immediately to the back of the gallows but when it got there it stopped short barked and then retreated into a corner 3 The dog acts opposite to the execution party in that the dog shows distress in the limp body the loss of life While the the superintendent may have blew out a deep breath in relief the dog presents the full weight of death no matter the person 3 The use of the dog as symbolism puts another human perspective ironically into an animal Nonetheless it allows for Orwell to express the injustice he sees in execution When questioned upon the autobiographical nature of A Hanging Orwell responded that it was only a story Wikipedia Whether it is true is beside the point for Orwell utilizes the technique of Point of View to effectively craft a commanding statement about executions In the first portion of the tale Orwell narrates from the point of view of a slightly uninterested observer one uneducated in the practices of execution He describes a scene where six tall Indian warders were guarding the prisonerthey crowded very close about him with their hands always on him in a careful caressing gripit was like men handling a fish which is still alive and may jump back into the water 1 Through a description like this it is clear that the narrator does not identify with either the prisoner or the guards and feels almost uncomfortable watching the scene as he uses words such as caressing and awkward similes such as fish handling The narrator seems to show little interest into the events about to unfold serving more as a bystander than anything else That is until his epiphany It is curious but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy conscious man the narrator explains after viewing the prisoner as he in spite of the men who gripped him by each shoulder step slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path 2 It is at this point when the point of view shifts to a much more personal view one of identification with the prisoner The narrator begins understands that the prisoner is a human just as he is and that after this execution in two minutes with a sudden snap one of us would be gone one mind less one world less 2 Through this shift of point of view Orwell allows the narrator to identify with the prisoner and translates that identification to the reader thus strengthening his theme Throughout A Hanging George Orwell crafts an evocative tone through diction and unique choice of descriptive language Imagery such as a sickly light like yellow tinfoil was slanting over the high walls and he was a Hindu a puny wisp of a man with a shaven head and vague liquid eyes provides ample visual queues although offkilter for the reader 1 This establishment of tone is critical in order to create verisimilitude Yes this story may not be a completely accurate representation of Orwe s time working with the British Imperial Police but it is imperative that the reader feels that way Employing this evocative tone establishes the narrator as Orwell himself and allows the reader to feel the connection the narrator makes with the prisoner realistically and in turn supports the fundamental theme A Hanging is a powerful testament to Orwe s stance on the death penalty He allows the reader to glimpse inward at the generally undiscussed specifics of a hotly debated process Not only is it a compelling story but the ways that Orwell implants his ideals are unorthodox and enticing Through symbolism via a dog an evocative tone that leads to verisimilitude and a shift in point of view Orwell presents a strong case against the death penalty