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Thitirat Pipopwattana 1203

“The dead man was a hundred yards away”: An exposition of inhumanity in “A Hanging”

What is the price of killing one healthy man? In “A Hanging”, George Orwell, the
author who is British. Orwell was the imperial police. The story point out at the morning
when an execution is going to happen. The prisoner was took out from his cell and warder
took him to the gallows. They putted the rope around his neck. Superintendent order hangman
to let go of the rope that goes around the man neck. After the job was done and the man stop
breathing, Orwell and his company went to got a drink and have fun. In the story, Orwell
illustrates the lack of humanity of the jailer including narrator.
Starting with the shade and disgusting of the jail and condemned cell. This can refer to
prisoner well and how there survive in poor surrounding. In the story, Orwell uses the
atmosphere and surrounding to indicate somber mood. The narrator was traveled to the jail in
Burma. In the moment it is raining. He was waiting outside out the condemned cell and
described the light and the appearance: “ A sickly light, like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over
the high walls into the jail yard. We were waiting outside the condemned cells, a row of sheds
fronted with double bars, like small animal cage”(1). The rain will come with a dark greyish
cloud which creates the somber atmosphere. In this quote, Orwell reviews that this prison is
not a place that people should live. It can be suit more with animal not human. The cage is use
to lock up and chain an animal. People like to feed animal a food. The word “Sickly light” can
be relates to illness of prisoner, fear of prisoner and cowardice of prisoner. The poor light cage
is not the place the human should live in. Orwell also express more about he appearance of
this prison: “His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still
remembered”(2). This quote explain when the man who will be hang see his last picture. The
word “yellow gravel” create the feeling of dirty and unattractive while the word “grey walls”

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express the emotion of sorrow and depress. Even though somber mood is the important part
of showing the lack of humanity in “A hanging” , there is another component too which is
hopeless tone.
The action of the Indian warders toward prisoner creates the situation that prisoner
was the person who be treat like an animal. The warders have showing no pity. The prisoner
has no change to protect or fight for himself which creates the hopeless tone. The man was
took out from his cell. Then warders chainvued him up: “Six tall Indian warders were
guarding him and getting him ready for the gallows. Two of them stood by with rifles and
fixed bayonets, while the others handcuffed him, passed a chain through his handcuffs and
fixed it to their belts, and lashed his arms tight to his sides. They crowded very close about
him, with their hands always on him in a careful, caressing grip, as though all the while
feeling him to make sure he was there.”(1). The man is chain up by six tall warders. While
they handcuffed the prisoner, two of them are aiming a gun at prisoner. They afraid that the
man will escape. This action is like the six warders are chaining a wild animal that strong
enough to fight with them. The man cannot even move himself. Orwell explains The action of
the Indian warders; “It was like men handling a fish which is still alive and may jump back
into the water”(1). The warders catch the man same as catching a fish that try to survive. The
word “water” can be mention to life. Six warders catch the man because they afraid that the
man will escape from their hand. For instant, hopeless tone help to show that the inhumanity
of jailer were absence, the reaction of author against prisoner is the one of terms which can
support this idea.
The story “A Hanging” was written in the first view point of view by using “I” which
is the main character of this story. The inhumanity of Orwell that can be see in this story is
how he describe about the jail and how he act after the hanging is done. After the man was

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hang there was a silent of dead. Then the Eurasian boy named Francis was mocking on the
dead man which is a funny joke that can create laugh for numerous people. They all went to
get a drink together. The attitude of Orwell towards the prisoner can be shown when Orwell
expresses his thought about the prisoner: “We went through the big double gates of the prison,
into the road. ‘Pulling at his legs!’ exclaimed a Burmese magistrate suddenly, and burst into a
loud chuckling. We all began laughing again. At that moment Francis's anecdote seemed
extraordinarily funny. We all had a drink together, native and European alike, quite amicably.
The dead man was a hundred yards away”(3). During the way out from jail, the author is
heard the voice of Burmese magistrate. The drag the dead man body by pulling his leg but the
another does not feel sorry for their action. He laughs and thinks about how funny of Francis
is instead of feeling depress for the man. The voice of Burmese magistrate is like the wind
that pass through his ear. Then he hangs out and enjoy his drink. In the sentence “The dead
man was a hundred yards away” is the sentence that Orwell show his ruthless. He does not
care about the prisoner that was hang in front of his face. After he cross the double gates of
jail the death of prisoner is not important thing for him. The ruthless characteristic of the
author is appear clearly in the story. Not only the characterization of author but the
characterization of superintendent also show the merciless action and the absence of moral.
The superintendent is one of the main characters which reviews that inhumanity
through the story. He took place as the big boss that all warders including Orwell need to
follow his command. The superintendent was the person who order the hangman to hang the
prisoner. Following that, the man was dead: “The superintendent reached out with his stick
and poked the bare body; it oscillated, slightly. ‘He's all right,’ said the superintendent”(2).
This quote shows the relation between the superintendent and prisoner. He pokes the dead
prisoner like when he haunting an animal and he has to check that it still alive. He says, “He’s

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all right” instead of he is dead which mean the dead of prisoner is okay for him. The attitude
that he has for the prisoner: “You will scarcely credit, sir, that it took six warders to dislodge
him, three pulling at each leg. We reasoned with him. “My dear fellow,” we said, “think of all
the pain and trouble you are causing to us!” But no, he would not listen! Ach, he wass very
troublesome!’ ” (3) . The superintendent talks about is feeling that he has with the dead man.
He thinks that killing people or in other word the prisoner is the trouble for his. This situation
was full of extremely inhumanity of this character. The superintendent is think of only the
convenience of his life instead of caring about people that he cut their last breath. Even the
man was die, the superintendent that he is uncaring and no mercy. He sees people life as a
gravel, it does not worth enough to care. The action of superintendent is unscrupulous, he
cares just about his own life.
To sum up, “A Hanging” is the story that review the inhumanity of people.
Superintendent, warders and author are behave toward the prisoner as an animal not a person.
The prisoner needs to live in the surrounding which can cause the sorrow feeling. Moreover,
this story is full of cruelty, egotistic and ruthless. How much value of human life?

Thitirat Pipopwattana 1203

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