The prisoner’ s crime is never mentioned in the essay. It universalizes the prisoner; it shows how it doesn’ t really matter what he’ s done. It doesn’ t change the fact that he should not be executed. It adds to the indifference of the guards. It wouldn’ t have really mattered to the guards in any way; he was a prisoner sentenced to death. Whether he was a murderer thief, rapist, or if he had been innocent, the guards wouldn’ t have cared one way or another. This, in particular, shows how indifference is in order for such a system as capital punishment to exist.
There is no way the guards could be personally attached to the prisoners and still be able to execute them. This sort of indifference towards human life is not acceptable, and this is another aspect the statement Orwell is making about the human condition. The statement that human life shouldn’ t be taken is primary, but Orwell is also stating that the condition in which a person must live in order to regularly execute prisoners is not a way people should live.
In White’ s “ The Ring of Time, ” the initial message being portrayed is even more personal, yet there is still a way to discern the political statement about the human condition. The essay details a trip the narrator had to the circus and in particular seeing a teenage girl performing bareback tricks on a horse. In this essay, the narrator has an epiphany as well, but there was not a particular action that caused it: “ I thought: ‘ She will never be as beautiful as this again. ’ ” Watching go around the circus ring, the narrator begins to discuss the nature of time and memory.
The point that White is making is that life needs to be appreciated. Though we can enjoy life as it is, we need to realize that the conditions we are currently experiencing will not last. The girl is beautiful and talented, but as she grows older these conditions will change. She might still be beautiful in old age, but she will be beautiful in a different way.
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