“A Hanging” By George Orwell Analysing The Injustice Of Capital Punishment Higher English Critical Essay Of A Hanging Essay

1599 words - 7 pages

“A Hanging” by George Orwell is a piece of nonfiction which highlights the injustice of capital punishment. Through the clever use of language techniques such as symbolism, irony and metaphors Orwell skilfully engages the reader throughout his essay on the injustice of capital punishment.
One of the key language techniques Orwell uses to sway readers is the use of descriptive language and setting. From the very onset Orwell hints at the issue of injustice through the use of effective similes. “like small animal cages”
This introduces the first of many the injustices taking place, tactfully reeling in the reader. The simile successfully indicates to the reader the standard to which prisoners are looked after this is due to the word choice of both ‘small’ and animal’. The word small indicates the idea of the prison being cramped and claustrophobic portraying the great lack a space and little movement the prisoners have in their cells. The word ‘animal’ illustrates the image that the prison is dirty and unsanitary showing the inhumane treatment of the prisoners. This simile provokes the reader to feel upset and distraught at the unjust treatment, as it depicts the image of a tiny dirty cell containing mindless prisoners successfully influencing the reader to feel disgusted at the treatment of the prisoners. Orwell uses the technique of imagery to describe the condemned man :
“a puny wisp of a man”
The metaphor skilfully presents the image of a man suffering from malnourishment and lack of care through the word choice of ‘puny’ as it has connotations of small and feeble emphasising the suffering he has been through. The metaphor “wisp of a man” when broken down suggests that just as a ‘wisp’ is a tuff, a strand of something and that a ‘man’ is stereotyped as someone tall, strong and brave overall conveys the idea that the prisoner is just a shadow of who he once was, a shadow of a man. This emotionally provokes the reader to feel empathy for the prisoner and horrified by the treatment of them as the imagery illustrate how the prisoner has not lost just his physical appearance but himself as a person he is a shadow of who he once was. This imagery is a vivid and striking underpinning horrible maltreatment of these people captivating the audience encouraging them to read on.
Using word choice Orwell again expresses the unneeded derogatory treatment towards the prisoner. Orwell describes how they physically handle the prisoner underlining the attitude the guard has towards prisoners:
“Lashed his arms tight to his sides”
The action of the prison guards reflects the care and attitude they have for the prisoners. This is expressed through the word choice of ‘lashed’ which has connotations of quickly, to constrict and harshly. The word choice of ‘tight’ suggest that they restricted his movement as far as possible, they left little to no room when tyring his arms. This word choice reflects the harshness and violence they treat the prisoner with despite...

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