(Rhetoric Grammar) 12 short answer questions on George Orwells “A Hanging”


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Here are the questions that must be answered and the instructions:

Closely read and monitor your responses to the following passage. Note how George Orwell’s language sways us as much as his thought, and observe how the writer’s linguistic choices are intrinsic to the achieved effect.

Assignment Guidelines:

Analyze the following passage from George Orwell’s essay “The Hanging,” (Aug.1931), focusing on the elements of grammar, syntax and semantics that convey purpose and elicit specific reader responses.

Answer the following questions in complete sentences and cohesive paragraphs. Then add at least two of your own observations about this passage, referring to the linguistic elements we have studied.

1. What is the effect of the adjectival “this” of “This man”? What other choices did Orwell have?

2. What is the effect of the idiosyncratic use of the comma which joins the first two clauses?

3. What is the effect of the equally idiosyncratic tense shift in the second clause?

4. How does the repetition of the word “alive” affect our perception?

5. What is the effect of Orwell’s choice “organs of the body” rather than “the body’s organs”?

6. What is the quality of response to the progressive tense “were working” and to the series that follow, all using the present participle?

7. How are we affected by the tense shift to the future conditional?

8. Comment on the effect of the redundancy of “his eyes saw,” “his brain remembered.”

9. What is the effect of the rhymed “he” and “we” of the final sentence?

10. Look up “spondaic rhythm” and describe the effect of “same world.”

11. Where is alliteration found, and what is the effect?

12. What do you make of the final stressed monosyllables, “one mind less, one world less”?

Text to analyze:

This man was not dying, he was alive just as we are alive. All the organs of his body

were working—bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues

forming—all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he

stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth-of-a-second to live.

His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered,

foresaw, reasoned—even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking

together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world, and in two minutes,

with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone-one mind less, one world less.

Format for Assignment

· Write all answers in complete sentences.

· Number each reply.

Link to full story: https://www.orwellfoundation.com/the-orwell-foundation/orwell/essays-and-other-works/a-hanging/

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