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George OrwellChapter Writing

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¶ … Life of a Hanging

Section C

The Superintendent's attitude towards the dog in paragraph 7 of this story indicates his anger. He realizes that the dog and what it is doing is completely contradictory to what he is doing with the execution. He is angry because the dog is inappropriate.

Virtually everything the dog is doing in these couple of paragraphs reinforces his own carefree attitude that is contrasted with the seriousness of this story. Therefore, the reader knows that gamboled is something positive and likely fun or vivacious, such as dancing.

Both the language of the superintendent in paragraph seven and the presence of the dog in Orwell's story detract from the formality of the hanging because they are both distractions. The dog interrupts the attitude by having fun; the Superintendent does by overreacting.

The main thing Orwell does to personally become involved in this hanging is to stuff his handkerchief in the dog's mouth. As such, the dog cannot effectively bark and make noise. Orwell was able to silence the dog by stuffing his handkerchief in his mouth.

5. The situation with the dog is similar to that of the prisoner because both 'characters' are captured and imprisoned by the party that is going to execute the prisoner. In this respect they are both at the mercy and the will of the executors.

6. The actions of the dog at the end of paragraph 8 form a contrast with the actions of the prisoner in that the dog is still trying to get away from the executioners and their capture of him. The prisoner realizes that it is useless to try to escape.

7. One of the main ways that Orwell shows that the prisoner is full of life in paragraph 9 is by having him walking fairly nimbly, in such a way that his leg muscles are emphasized. In fact, he walks so nimbly that he quickly avoids a puddle.

8. The technique that Orwell uses twice to suggest that the detail about the man stepping slightly to avoid the puddle is alliteration. I seems as though Orwell would remember this particular incident because it points to the vitality still in the condemned prisoner.

9. At that moment I was particularly struck by the fact that it is actually a fairly important and monumental thing to kills someone who is actually in pretty decent health and who otherwise would not die for quite a long time.

10. From this point on, there are fewer distraction in Orwell's essay. The interruptions of the dog and the Superintendent with his angry outbursts are now gone. From this point, the essay takes on a more somber tone until the poor man dies.

11. The mystery that Orwell saw was essentially the fact that it is actually a very terrible thing to kill someone who otherwise would have continued living for quite some time unless some other accident happened to impair his seemingly perfect health.

12. The image of "cutting life short when it is in full tide" is a very effective way to allude to the fact that the life of the prisoner is going to be cut short despite the fact that his life has only just begun, and he should have a lot more life left.

13. Orwell develops the word puddle in paragraph ten by first using it literally, simply as a description of something that this living man deftly avoided. However, at the end of the paragraph this same term 'puddle' is used to indicate the prisoner's vitality.

14. Orwell uses three features of sentence structure to indicate that the prisoner is still very much alive. In one sentence he renders what the man is still able to see. In another he compares that prisoner to himself and his comrades; in another he indicates the full extent to which the man's brain still works.

15. Orwell and his group of men are a party of men working together both literally and figuratively. Literally, of course, walking is what they are doing. Figuratively, however, they are all able to walk because they are alive -- which unites them.

16. A sudden snap is a very effective expression in this particular story because a sudden snap is how a man's neck breaks when he is hanged. The prisoner dies by hanging, so such an expression is effective.

Summary

The incident with the puddle is important because it shows that the man is truly alive and still in the prime of his life, which is why it is such a travesty for men to kill him. Men cannot make a man; they should be extremely hesitant about destroying one.

The mystery which Orwell sees is the fact that it is both ironic and folly of these men to attempt to kill someone who is very much alive. Such a mystery is important because it represents the crux of the story.

Cutting a life short when it is in full tide is an important metaphor because it sums up what the executioners are doing to the prisoners, and additionally reinforces the notion that doing so is folly at best and likely a perversion of man's ability.

Section D

1. The word choice of machine in the eleventh paragraph is effective for this story, because its usage emphasizes the impersonal nature of the killing that most of the executioner party seems to perceive about their actions. Machines don't think or feel -- nor do the executioners.

2. It was effective for Orwell to describe the prisoner's motion to the platform as clumsy, because this word is contrasted with the fancy footwork he is capable of when he is trying to avoid puddles. The fact that the prisoner is clumsy moving to the gallows means he does not want to go there.

3. The prisoner's crying of "Ram" is effectively used a s a simile for the tolling of a bell because the expression "when the bell tolls" is often used to indicate some sort of finality. Additionally, in the military, police departments, and in fire departments burial are accompanied by tolling bells.

4. The dog is whining, and these sounds can very well describe the emotional state of Orwell in this situation. Orwell realized the humanity of the prisoner an the inherent wrong that the execution squad is committing by killing a man in the prime of his life. The dog's whining is like a silent protest from Orwell.

5. Orwell uses sound and sentence structure to build up the tension in the eleventh paragraph because he begins the paragraph with the loud sounds the prisoner is making while praying, yet ends it with the muffled sounds he is making. Soon he will make no sounds, so the progression from loud to softer creates tension.

6. Orwell continues to build tension using sentence structure at the start of the next paragraph by again referring to the muffled sound of Ram that the prisoner is making. Those are the same cries to make the executioners want to speed up the death of the prisoner. The continuation of the repetition of that prayer 'Ram', with the exclamation marks accompanying it, makes these sentences contribute to the story's tension.

7. Orwell uses the vivid details of color and imagery to express the horror of the hanging by explaining that those watching the hanging had changed color -- meaning that they had probably turned red with embarrassment or perhaps yellow with fear. He exemplifies his use of color and imagery by describing the color of the prisoner as grey and comparing it a bad color of grey -- coffee after it has sat for too long.

8. This type of sentence is referred to as apostrophe, as it is a direct address from the thoughts of those watching the prisoner urging for action. There are short phrases in this sentence to denote frantic thoughts and a rush of specific actions that accompany them. The punctuation in this particular sentence consists of an exclamation mark to signify the urgency of the thoughts, and commas to illustrate their connections and the rush between them. Abominable is a good word to use here because the men thought the waiting horrible.

9. The abruptness of the Superintendent's action is demonstrated by the word suddenly, which begins this paragraph. He shouts a strange word, 'Chalo', which is a call to action and which serves to commence the hanging. All of the verbs in this paragraph illustrate rapidity -- the Superintendent 'throws' his head up and shouts loudly and quickly.

10. The first sentence in paragraph 15 forms a link in the structure of the essay because it begins with a loud noise and ends in silence. There were several different parts of the essay that followed this structure. The dog, for example, appeared making loud noises before eventually being gagged and silence. And after the beginning in which the Superintendent was talking loudly, most of the executioners fell… [END OF PREVIEW]

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