The Theme Of Symbolism In A Hanging By George Orwell

Decent Essays

Literature is a complex form of expression, that can be used by writers as a tool to convey simplistic entertaiment; create mythical and fantastical worlds that escape the limitations of mankind or as an art form that enables a very cable few to challenge an entire school of thought and traditions, one of these peculiar few was a man known as George Orwell. Orwell was the pseudonym of Eric A. Blair, a man who opposed the oppressive values of totalitarian-esque political systems and cherished the idealistic political notions of equality, which can be seen across his diverse repertoire of work. This is especially highlighted in his anecdotal short-essay “A Hanging”, where Orwell retails a story of his time in the British police corps which serves …show more content…

In his anecdotal short essay, Orwell uses characters as lenses to explore the core themes of rebellion and depravity found in his writing. To clarify, Orwell shows the effects of the british colonial system through the actions of the characters and the language used for their descriptions. For example, characters of indigenous origin to the colonies are defined on the basis of their religion or race. This illustrates the stereotypical fashion in which colonists defined natives. Similarly, Orwell use negative imagery and pathetic fallacy to dehumanise and belittle the prisoners in the story. As illustrated by quotes such as “like animal cages” and “squatted in long rows”, which compare the prisoners to animals ,thus garnering a sympathetic response from the audience and illustrates the severity of the condemned men’s plight. Moreover, the dehumanization of the prisoners may reflect the way in which the narrator and other characters in position of power distance themselves from the acts they are committing. To illustrate, when preparing the prisoner for the execution he is treated as an object, a chore that must be completed in order for the characters to progress as opposed to an individual facing a grim end. Yet, during the execution the prisoner is described as higher being, he’s acceptance of death is a force that terrorises the other characters, thus belittling them and showing the negative effect that the event has on their psyche. In contrast, Orwell uses speech patterns and burmese terms to illustrate the effect colonisation has on the culture of its colonised states. For examples, native characters of higher authority emulate their British counterparts in their names and

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