Dr. Jeffery Mack
English Composition 1
August 24, 2014
George Orwells’ “A Hanging” is a very descriptive piece. It starts off going into a detailed description of the weather, jail cells, and the inmates. The description goes so far to even mention that the man who was going to be hanged jumped over a water puddle. This shows me that even though it shouldn’t matter because he’s about to die it is just a natural instinct.
When Orwell starts to describe the weather it sends out a dark uneasiness atmosphere. He describes the jail cells where the condemned people live as “small animal cages” this gives the impression on how bad the conditions were. This is the first sign of how inhumane it is there. Orwell then described the prisoner “a puny wisp of a man with vague liquid eyes.” He described him like this without telling about the crime so no one could stereotype the prisoner or be influenced to see him in a different light but only as a favorable, powerless Hindu man. Orwell gives intense description to show the harsh treatment and to give his dislike for the way the people were treated.
The dog that jumped on the man who was about to be executed was friendly to him and didn’t see him in his wrong doing unlike the people who intended to execute him. This made the inhumane execution seem even worse. I think the major conflict is that he knows that this harmless seeming man is about to be executed and he has no choice but to go along with the killing of this man even though he knows it is wrong. He has a strong dislike for the situation but because of his occupation and he doesn’t want to be looked at differently he doesn’t stand up for the man and stop the execution. He is expected to help with the hanging because it is one of his duties as an imperialist British police officer. In the story Orwell said, “I saw the mystery the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide.” To me this means they would be ending a man’s life