A Hanging By Eric Blair

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In 1931 “A Hanging” by Eric Blair, a little-known author from London, was published for the first time in the Adelphi magazine. Blair is a famous writer who is known today as someone who confronted some of the major political movements of his time. Although, Blair did not start his career off as a writer. For five years Blair spent his time in Burma working in the Indian Imperial Police, just like his father, until he resigned in January 1928. Somewhere along the line Blair realized that this line of work was not for him, so he began to pursue his dream of being a writer. This seemed to disappoint his parents; to save them from embarrassment, he began to go by his widely-known pen name, George Orwell. “A Hanging” is a short essay about…show more content…
“How bad could someone be if a happily skipping, dancing, wooly half-Airedale wants to play with him” (Rodden, 73).
The most important moment in this story, especially for Orwell, is when the prisoner purposely steps aside to avoid a puddle in his path. It was then that Orwell realized the wrongness of capital punishment. The prisoner was a living, breathing human being whose “brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned - reasoned even about puddles” (Orwell, 101). After the noose is fixed around the prisoner’s neck, he began to repeatedly chant the word “Ram,” which is Hindu for God. It is believed that if you can call out the name of your god before death, then you have good left in you. Everyone knew this and thus they all changed color. “The Indians had gone grey like bad coffee…bayonets wavering” and the superintendent had “his head on his chest… slowly poking the ground with his stick (Orwell, 101-102). With that the superintendent swiftly motions to the hangman with his stick to get the execution over with, and just like that the prisoner was gone.
The superintendent’s avoidance behavior becomes increasingly evident as the story progresses. In the beginning, he was “standing apart from the rest of us, moodily prodding the gravel with his stick” (100). It can be said that due to the oath the superintendent made as a doctor- to never take a
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