George Orwell A Hanging Rhetorical Analysis

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Rhetorical Analysis of “A Hanging” In his personal narrative, “A Hanging”, George Orwell, a renowned British author, who often used his talents to criticize injustice and totalitarianism, describes an execution he witnessed in Burma while serving as an officer in the British Imperial Police. Originally published in The Adelphi, a British magazine, in 1931, the piece was written for educated, politically aware people in England, in hopes of provoking questions regarding the morality of capital punishment, and perhaps imperialist society overall, in those benefitting from such a system. Although he died nearly seventy years ago, his works are still influential and relevant today. Using vivid descriptions and a somber tone, Orwell recreates his experience in a tense narration that clearly shows his thesis concerning the value of human life and the wrongness inherent to a system that dismisses it so casually. As “A Hanging” is entirely anecdotal, Orwell relies on masterful writing to place the reader at the scene. By humanizing…show more content…
His language, suited both for his audience, and still relevant today, creates a tense, somber atmosphere. His powerful descriptions highlight both the humanity of the prisoner as well as the brutality of those belonging to the establishment. His story is well paced and easy to follow, and I felt all the elements came together very convincingly. As it does not rely on statistic or figures, the atmosphere Orwell creates in “A Hanging” is crucial to its effectiveness. It is unrelentingly sad from start to finish, even as the officers laugh over drinks. The fact that they are executing a man is inescapably woven into every aspect of the piece and left me wishing for a different outcome. At no point in the essay, do we forget Orwell is there to watch someone

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