In most of George Orwell's writing, Orwell strives to simultaneously politicize
readers while creating an absorbing piece of writing, as is the case in his two essays "A
Hanging" and "Shooting an Elephant." The political views Orwell illustrates in these
essays are shaped from Orwell's personal experiences as a British imperial officer in
Burma, as well as the larger international conflicts existing at the time in which Orwell
was writing between socialism, totalitarianism, and imperialism. In "A Hanging" and
"Shooting an Elephant", Orwell uses two distressing experiences to criticize imperialism
while provoking readers with a moral imperative to find truth.
In "A Hanging", Orwell is concerned with the standards and value of life, as well
as racial issues, particularly those connected with imperialism. The tone of the narrator
for the majority of the essay is detached as the narrator merely observes the process of the
hanging. This detachment...