In this disturbing story, Orwell explores and accentuates the trauma suffered by those who participate in and witness the taking of a human life. The mood is somber and has a surreal quality about it. The almost matter-of-fact narrative indicates that the speaker wishes not to become too intimately or emotionally involved in the situation but does, however, finds himself in a position where he, unfortunately, seems to have no choice because it is his duty.
The seemingly exaggerated precautions taken to lead the condemned man to his execution emphasize the unnatural nature of the incident. The condemned man is frail, small, and offers no resistance but is nevertheless heavily guarded and bound. It appears that he has accepted his fate and is calm. In contrast, his would-be executioners are anxious and unsettled. Their discomfort is a further indication that they are not happy about committing a distasteful and abnormal act.
The prisoner's actions make the narrator realize the...
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