Read the following essay. Make sure you understand it before you write your response.
Remember the guidelines you’ve studied on how to take an essay exam. Use them in writing your response.
I would make yourself a scratch outline before you write. Your response should be an essay which is at least 3 paragraphs long. Your evidence should consist mainly of quotations from the essay, and your analysis and evaluation of those quotations.
Your thesis should be that the essay is 1) effective, 2) ineffective, or 3) partially effective in convincing you that the author’s world view is correct. You should follow this with a plan of development, laying out your arguments.
I wouldn’t worry about a hook, or a long summary at the end of the essay. While I often encourage synthesis, please DO NOT relate any long stories about your life in your response (A few sentences about your life, on the other hand, might be appropriate). That would miss the point of the question and get you a poor grade.
Please write your response on the back of the test sheets. You may not have a second copy of the test for any reason.
Specific notes about this essay: The essay is slightly longer than I’d prefer, but the reading level is low—below 6th grade—which should more than make up for it being half a page longer than I intended.
Orwell’s thesis is never (quite) stated outright. You must analyze the essay to discover the thesis. Some questions that may help you approach the essay: What does Orwell think of capital punishment, of colonialism (here the British rule of Burma), crime, and guilt? Why doesn’t he tell us what the man has done—shouldn’t that be important information? When he describes the various responses people have to the hanging, what impressions or ideas is he trying to get you to take away?
Gallows The equipment used to execute a person by hanging
Dravidian A large family of languages spoken especially in southern India and northern Sri Lanka that includes Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam...
Pariah The term pariah dog (also pye dogs, or pi dogs) originally referred to Chinese/Indian feral dogs of a particular type.
Aghast Offended, confused by a surprising turn of events.
Gambolled Dancing, frolicking
Eurasian A person (or something else) which mixes qualities associated with Europe with qualities associated with Asia. This is referring to someone who was mixed race.
Chalo Hindi word meaning “let’s go.”
Lathis A stout stick
Pannikin Dish or shallow pot
Snigger To giggle foolishly or inappropriately
Boxwallah Box seller/maker
Garrulously excessive and often trivial or rambling talk
“A Hanging” by George Orwell
It was in Burma, a sodden morning of the rains. 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 cages. Each cell measured about ten feet by ten and was quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot of drinking water. In some of them brown silent men were squatting at the inner bars, with their blankets draped round them. These were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two.
One prisoner had been brought out of his cell. He was a Hindu, a puny wisp of a man, with a shaven head and vague liquid eyes. He had a thick, sprouting moustache, absurdly too big for his body, rather like the moustache of a comic man on the films. 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…