Textual Analysis: Tell-Tale Heart and a Hanging

1574 WordsMar 25, 20137 Pages
Analysis: Views of Executions Question: How do the narrators of George Orwell’s “A Hanging” and Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart differ in their views of killing people? Within a short story, there is usually an obstacle that the main character has to persevere through. Between the characters of the guard from George Orwell’s “A Hanging” and the servant from Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart”, they both experience the act of killing another person. The guard from “A Hanging” works at a prison in Burma where prisoners, viewed as felons, await execution. His job is to lead the convicted men to their doom and makes sure everything goes routinely and swift. While the servant from “A Tell-Tale Heart” is a psychopathic man who lets his obsession over his boss’s glass eye lead him to plot and carry out his death. Throughout both stories, the protagonists reach a moment when they need to take part in the organized killings though, their different views on life and responses to the deaths set them apart. As a result, even though the prison guard and the servant both played key roles in the executions of the victims, they both have different outlooks and reactions towards their deeds. When it comes to the obstacle that the prison guard and the servant face, they are both in the position of ending the lives of their victims on pre-determined dates. The guard for starters works at a prison where “cells measured about 10 feet and were quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot for drinking water” (Orwell 32) and “brown, silent men” (Orwell 32) within them. The guard mentions that they “were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two” (Orwell 32). Once the prisoner is introduced, the clock strikes eight o’clock and the army doctor states ““For God’s sake hurry up, Francis,” he said irritably. “The man ought to have been dead by this time.

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