A Critique of George Orwells "A Hanging".
George Orwell in the personal essay "A Hanging" describes his experience as a young man in the British army, stationed at a jail in Burma and he develops the theme of how people can get in a routine, going about their day to day duties and not realize what is going on around them. Orwell develops this theme with two different scenes he observes while a prisoner at the jail makes his way to be hanged. One when the jail superintendent rushes along the hanging, and another when he observes the prisoner in a very human like action; side stepping to avoid a little puddle. .
Orwell tries to show how everyone around the condemned man was hurrying on with business while the reality of the situation was that a man was going to hanged. As the guards were getting the prisoner ready for the gallows Orwell writes the response of the superintendent; "For God's sake hurry up- The moody statement helps describe the situation as a hurried affair. For indeed "The prisoners" wouldn't "get their breakfast till this jobs over." The job being the hanging, or death, of a man. To go through this duty as if it were just a mundane routine seems insensitive and shows the loss of true appreciation for the situation at hand. Orwell is not saying that no one cares that a man was about to die or that they are indeed, insensitive. He is showing that the guards and prisoners alike have lost the reality of the situation and are instead going day to day as if emotionless robots programmed to do a job. .
Orwell seeing that the reality of the situation is lost, is surprised when the prisoner, almost approaching the gallows "stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path." This action being more human like than any other action seen all morning, jolts Orwell as he suddenly begins to realize what is happening. In his thoughts he marvels, " This man was not dying, he was alive just as we were alive He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling,- Orwell tries to express that this act, small as it was, became a connection to himself and the prisoner.