Reaction to "A Hanging"

Topics: Prison, A Hanging, George Orwell Pages: 2 (641 words) Published: September 4, 2013
“A Hanging” by George Orwell had an overall grim mood, using vivid imagery and a dark subject to set a tone for the readers. Orwell served as a member of the British Imperial Police from 1922 to 1927, and in those years he saw many criminals and many deaths. However, in this essay, the narrator seems more unease than others viewing the hanging. This might an essay depicting an event early in the career of George Orwell, however no one really knows for sure. I believe that “A Hanging” used its dark mood to reflect the way that Orwell felt as he was watching the hanging commence, and allowed the readers to see it through the mind and eyes of Orwell. As is revealed by the title, the main reason for Orwell writing this story was because of a hanging he saw take place. As Orwell describes the hanging, the readers can feel just how debased he feels as he sees the man pass away so brutally. However, the hanging was not the only uncomfortable thing that Orwell viewed while in Burma. One of the main concerns throughout “A Hanging” was how Orwell viewed the treatment of the prisoners. It was revealed throughout the essay, without an inch of doubt, that Orwell did not think highly of how the prisoners were treated. The strongest allegory throughout the story dealt with how uncanny it was that men, who have been on top of the food chain for their entire lives, were treated like animals in prison. An example of how the men were treated like animals can be seen when Orwell describes their jail cells. The biggest irony within “A Hanging” actually comes from when Orwell describes the men’s jail cells as animal cages. Man, the master of animals, who put their pets in cages whenever they wanted, is now the one being put into a cage on his master’s will (the prison). He also depicts the scene of guards walking the prisoners to the hanging site by describing it as if the prisoners were animals as well. He told the readers that they hold on to the prisoners so tight that it is like...
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