Analysis Of A Hanging By George Orwell

Decent Essays

In the passage from his short story A Hanging, George Orwell creates a straightforward, weighty style and a pitying, anticipatory tone through mundane eventive verbs and a strong control of the passage of time. Although the first line of the passage does not include these important features, it does act as a pivotal sentence in the greater paragraph, shifting focus to the life remaining in the prisoner. In addition, this sentence establishes the separation between the “he” of the prisoner and the “we” of the living population. Indeed, first person singular is never used in this passage, replaced instead by numerous applications of plurality, perhaps best exemplified in the later noun phrase, “He and we.” This separation develops a distant pity on the part of the narrator: he recognizes the horror of the prisoner’s situation but does not personally care because the horror is not happening to him. Nevertheless, a large component of the passage is the relatability of the prisoner’s condition. Throughout the passage, Orwell employs ordinary, everyday action verbs, such as “digesting” and “seeing”, to emphasize the prisoner’s aliveness through his continuing senses and bodily processes. Along with this …show more content…

For instance in the second sentence, several mundane actions occur consecutively in the description of “bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming.” Furthermore, this example demonstrates Orwell’s continued pairing of parallel structure with asyndeton. Used simultaneously, parallel structure augments the simple style while asyndeton accelerates the rhythm of the writing. In fact, this speed reflects the prisoner’s dwindling lifespan: they are literally moving closer and closer to this man’s death. Therefore, through the removal of “and” from the parallel structures, we as readers are slipping past the imagery just as fast as the prisoner is slipping toward his

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