The short story “A Hanging” by George Orwell is a narration of the hanging process of a Hindu prisoner. The author describes how a healthy prisoner is moved from the cell to the hanging gallows. Orwell described the man as “a puny wisp of a man, with a shaven head and vague liquid eyes” (Orwell 1). The man was healthy but just about to die by hanging.
Orwell does not however inform the reader about the crime of the Hindu man. The theme of this story is that it is wrong to take one’s life no matter the crime. Informing the reader about the crime of the man does not change the theme. Orwell wrote, “I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide” (Orwell 2). People should have compassion and remorse for human life. The officers in the story have no compassion for the dying man. The dog shows the irony in the lack of the humans to show compassion and remorse. The dog is compassionate towards the prisoner but the guards overlooked its compassion act. They viewed the act of the dog as an interruption to their work.
Additionally, the author also informs the reader about the inhuman treatment prisoners receive. Apart from the dying man, other prisoners were also badly treated. Orwell wrote, “A row of sheds fronted with double bars, like small animal cages” (Orwell 1). All along the story, the author is emphasizing on the value of human life. The way the prisoners were treated inside the cells was brutal and harsh. Human life is valuable and no human being is entitled to take it away.
Orwell, George. A Hanging.1931
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