Rudyard Kipling Poems
The Biography of Rudyard Kipling and His Works
Rudyard Kipling is one of the best known English writer of his time. He was born in India 1865, but when the first five years of his life was gone, the family moved to England. Kipling was an English writer, journalist and poet. Kipling then died on the 18th of January 1936. In 1907 did Kipling accept the Nobel prize for literature. Kipling is known for his book “The Jungle book”, “The white man’s burden” and “If”.
The white man’s burden
Kipling wrote the poem “The White man’s burden” in 1899. At this time Britain was a big colonial power, with colonies all over the whole world. In 1899 were there a massive difference between white and black people. Britain saw their colonizing as a favor to the countries they colonized. Often were the countries they colonized poor and not as developed as England, so the English people came and civilized them. The colonies helped the less fortunate witch ex: technology and political system. Britain saw the colonized people (Philippines in this context) as less intelligent. The colonies then got their English culture and language.
The English colonies came and changed the different countries, to their own. They saw themselves as better than everyone else. The English people saw themselves as to colonize the world. They saw it as if they were doing the countries a favor. The first thing we see in the poem is “the white man”, which is a symbol of the western colonial power. At the time the poem was published the phrase “White man” was used on men who were considered to be good or pure. The poem takes place in 1899, but there isn’t a physical place.
The poem is written to the white society. It’s an attempt to make the white people help the colonized colored people. The colored people in the poem are described as half devils half children. The colored people aren’t happy when they found out that they have been treated like slaves by the white men. Kipling has always been a declared imperialist and believed empires could have a positive influence on the colonized people. I
n the poem we see a different perspective on, whether the colonization was a good deed or not. Kipling describes it as the white man´s burden to colonize and “help” these countries. Therefore, a good deed and a favor to the uncivilized countries. Therefor It looks like “The white man’s burden” is praising imperialism. In Kipling’s eyes, imperialism wasn’t just a way for countries to get power. It was also a way to help less fortunate people around the world.
The story “Lispeth” is about a girl from a Himalayan village during the rule of the British empire. The girl was born in a small Himalayan village. Her parent wanted to convert to the Christian faith because of a bad harvest. The daughter got baptized too. Later on her parents died, so there came a couple to raise her. The girl then got raised by a Chaplain and his wife.
Later in her life, she falls in love with a British man, but the man doesn’t love her back. But he plays along at the request from the Chaplain’s wife. The girl gets promised a wedding with the British man, but he leaves and never returns. Later on the girl finds out that there was never going to be a wedding. The girl then abandons the Christian faith and returns to her native people. Her native people believes that everything depends on the gods. In the story the people lost their religion and then changed to Christians. We can then draw between the story and the time it’s written in, since that people in the Victorian age began to think to believe in science and Darwin. Kipling makes several points about the issues in the Victorian age.
One of the issues Kipling tells us is the difference between race or people thinking that they are superior based on race. The chaplain´s wife is an excellent example. She has a clear set of opinions and believes herself to be a proper Christian. But she is also afraid of anything that is foreign. She believes that her status is higher than the common Pahari. I believe that Kipling did this to show how the hierarchal society was in the Victorian age. Lispeth is so beautiful that she doesn’t appear to be from her native people. The chaplain’s wife can’t take decisive action since that Lispeth doesn’t look like her native people. The chaplain’s wife couldn’t confront Lispeth openly, because that she looked like a beautiful English girl and not like her native people.
This was how the upper class would look at someone that looked different. Kipling turns the situation by making the main character of a different race beautiful. The way that the chaplain’s wife is insulting Lispeth through the whole story is in reality just insults by someone who is unable to deal with something different. To the chaplain’s wife it’s all about to make people feel bad about themselves. This mentality will cause humans deceive and hurt one another.She only does it to prove herself superior.
Act of being superior to obtain the basics
In order to unpack Kipling’s complicated stance toward English imperialism in his novel Kim, one can begin with an investigation of the role of the occult in the novel. Some critics have read Kipling’s use of the occult as fantasy, a tool for bridging the gap between his limited experience as an Anglo-Indian and the multiplicity of voices, religions, and traditions in India. Problematically, then, the world of magic (like youth) must be guarded and secured by the way of the gun or imperialistic paternity. Kim, as a spy for the British Raj, is protector of the magical, Orientalized East. But how much of that magic is simply illusion? As the Lama’s chela or guide, he is both spiritual subordinate and protector, necessary to the Tibetan Buddhist’s physical survival. Kim is superior to the Lama in the ways of the world”obtaining food, managing money, and, later, after he is given a Western education, in mathematics and penmanship. It is Kim, not the Lama, who is the hero of Kipling’s book; and it is through his perspective that we, as readers, are allowed to experience India. From an Orientalist standpoint, the most effective colonial rulers are those who, like Kim, know India, and are thus able to appropriate mystical knowledge in order to support the machinations of Empire.
Following from this idea, how do Kim’s encounters with magic help determine his ultimate position as a British spy? It is by probing the connection between magic, colonialism, and modernity, that we can interpret Kim’s several important magical, or occult, experiences in the text2E First is his encounter with Lurgan Sahib, and the incident of the conjuring up of the smashed jar. Kim, terrified, finds that he can resist Lurgan Sahib’s magic by controlling his thoughts and meditating on the multiplication table in English. Lurgan Sahib asks him, And then what did you do? I mean, how did you think? Kim’s response is: Oah! I knew it was broken, and so, I think, that was what I thought and it was broken. (207) The multiplication tables are a symbol of Western rationalism; following Descartes, Kim knows that he saw the jar break and thus it must be broken. Or, only when one allows himself to believe in magic, can one be swept away by it.
Another moment in which Kim encounters the occult is when Mahbub Ali brings him to the spiritualist, Huneefa, whose task it is to put a protective spell on him. Again, West is pitted against East, as Mahbub Ali says (of Kim), Allah! How he fought! We should never have done it but for the drugs. That was his white blood, I take it (239). In other words, according to Mahbub Ali there is something about the Westerner that makes him naturally, biologically impervious to the occult. Phrases like white blood, a paradox, are typical of 19th century scientific racism, classifications of character based on so-called race. Following this logic, Huneefa and Mahbub Ali must drug the Irish Kim in order to make him susceptible to the occult ritual and even then, the question of how susceptible he really is remains at stake.
As many critics have noted, Kim makes comedy out of the often tragic consequences of colonial rule in India. In this sense, one can see the way in which Salman Rushdie perhaps takes Kim as his point of departure in Midnight’s Children, another tragicomedy in which the comedy half arises from deflating and pin-pricking at what are seen as Eastern superstitions and often resultant culture clashes between East and West. Kim, a great huxter, impersonator, and spy, succeeds in passing himself off as having spirital powers, such as when, thanks to insider knowledge, he informs a regiment that war is breaking out in the North and is mistaken for a prophet, or when his Western medical kit allows him to have the magical powers of healing. And, yet, even as the occult is deconstructed or, as critic Max Weber would have it, disenchanted, the failures of human rationality are so well-articulated by Kipling that one cannot help but consider the wisdom of finding an alternative to the Western overreliance on rationality through the five senses. Put another way, even though everything mysterious can be explained, human judgment often fails to perceive the truth, requiring in many cases a leap of faith.
Finally, how does the very unspiritual Great Game of British Imperial spying relate to the Lama’s mystical Wheel of Life, both of which Kim seems to follow? Both the Great Game and the Wheel of Life are monolithic systems which encompass all worlds in order structure a worldview and confer meaning on one’s life. One can conclude with three questions, which are perhaps the most provocative and challenging aspects of interpreting Kim. What does it mean that the Lama glimpses the long-sought River of the Arrow at the end of the novel? What is implied by the last scene, in which the Lama claims that the Search is ended Why give the Lama the final lines of the book? (383) These are questions that certainly do not have easy answers but, in exploring them, we can begin to do justice to the role of magic and the occult Kipling’s work.
Victorian Literary Tradition and Symbolism of Man and Colony
The Victorian concept of masculinity is one caught up a series of interrelated metaphors relating to the empire and national identity. Throughout the Victorian corpus there are a number of texts that create a metaphorical relationship between femininity and the colonised. In Lord Alfred Tennyson’s ‘The Princess’, the poem represents the social conquest of marginal feminist politics through a metaphor of military conquest. Sexual and social domination therefore become metaphorically related to the colonial enterprise. Similarly, Froude’s report on colonial Trinidad serves to feminise the natives through depiction of their passivity and connection to the domestic sphere; the direction of the metaphorical relationship is reversed but the effect is similar – the representational practice of both categories become confused and the two become almost symbolically interchangeable. In contrast, the feminisation of the motherland serves an entirely different purpose. The mother country is depicted as a nurturing domestic space that needs to be protected and provided for by the colonising male. Epitomised by Queen Victoria, the image of mother England is an enabling and validating but ultimately passive force. This contrasts with the Victorian conception of a colonising masculinity. This masculinity is active and prescriptive, proving its bodily and mental control through a colonial exercise. As with the examples above, the process of colonisation and the achievement of masculinity become metaphorically indistinct so that one is analogous for and a part of the other.
The representation of the woman and the colony in Victorian literature works by a system of mutually reinforcing metaphors – the woman is the colony and the colony is the woman. Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem, ‘The Princess’ attempts to articulate a distinction between masculinity and femininity. Ultimately, the poem repudiates Princess Ida’s feminist separatism and King Gama’s chauvinism. Nevertheless, the poem implicitly upholds a patriarchal power dynamic. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick goes so far to say “the Prince’s erotic perceptions are entirely shaped by the structure of the male traffic in women – the use of women by men as exchangeable objects, as counters of value, for the primary purpose of cementing relationship with other men.” Women become therefore become peripheral to the homosocial power-relationships. One of the more interesting aspects of this poem is that this exploration of gender politics is executed by means of a colonial metaphor; the issue of feminism/chauvinism is projected onto a colonial landscape. Therein, the woman is represented as an ‘Other’ landscape, in need of colonisation. The novel conflates Victorian anxieties regarding the session of colonial dependencies (as in ‘Opening of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition by the Queen’, another of Tennyson’s poems#) and radical feminism. Princess Ida states that her aim is to “[d]isyoke their necks from custom, and assert/None lordlier than themselves…” – here, the Princess draws simultaneously upon images of both separatist advocates in colonial states and radical feminist philosophers of the Victorian period.# The poem also accentuates cultural differences between the two kingdoms:
“I seemed to move among a world of ghosts;
The Princess with her monstrous woman-guard,
The jest and the earnest working side by side
The cataract and the tumult and the kings
Were shadows; and the long fantastic night
With all its doings hand and had not been,
And all things were and were not.”#
In this way, the concept of the unknowable woman and the unknowable native are amalgamated into a single representational unit; metaphorically, the woman becomes the colonised. This contrasts with James Anthony Froude’s ‘The English in the West Indies’ which retains all the individual elements of the aforementioned woman/colonised metaphor but reverses them to a similar end. That is, Froude uses techniques evident in Victorian representation of women and uses them to feminise (and therefore, disempower) the ‘native’. Throughout the text, Froude consistently indexes the native to a domestic sphere; that is, the traditional space of the Victorian woman. He says, “…plantains throw their cool shade over the doors; oranges and limes and citrons perfume the air, and droop their boughs under the weight of their golden burdens […] Children played about in swarms, in happy idleness and abundance”. Like the English domestic space, Froude’s West Indies are a place marked by simplicity and granted abundance (as opposed to abundance directly earned). Moreover, the West Indies (again, like the English domestic sphere) are represented as being in a precarious political position. The prelapsarian innocence that Froude describes are only maintained “so long as English rule continues…”. In his view, England is not motivated by mere altruism but states that to allow the West Indies self-government would be “to shirk responsibility”.# Like the traditional Victorian woman, the West Indies native is an innocent and delicate creature, unable to maintain their paradisal state without the protection of the masculine imperial project. Ultimately, Froude and Tennyson both construct their texts through the conflation of the feminine and the colonial and as an inevitable result, indexing masculinity to the imperial project.
If Froude and Tennyson use representational practice to code the colonised as a sexual conquest (and vice versa), contemporaneous English literature also shows a tendency towards a different kind feminisation of England – the motherland. The colonising male is coded as the provider and protector of an idealised, domestic home. England therefore, acts as a metaphor for the domestic mother-figure: spiritually and emotionally nurturing but ultimately in need of protection by the active, colonial male. Eliza Cook, in her 1851 publication of ‘The Englishman’ provides a unique instance of a female voice describing the workings of the colonial mechanism.# Throughout the poem, Cook creates a space of domestic comfort in the form of spiritual and emotional validation. She describes the titular Englishman as possessing “…a deep and honest love/The passions of faith and pride” and who “yearns with the fondness of a dove/To the light of his own fireside”. Moreover, writing as a woman, Cook’s evocation of national pride and solidarity becomes a test of true masculinity. If Englishmen are “lion spirits that tread the deck [and who]/Have carried the palm of the brave”, then male subjects who not conform to this image are, by implication of the poems representational politics are emasculated and disavowed; they are not truly Englishmen.# In return for their conformity, the figure of the colonising male is confirmed in his masculinity and granted a privileged cultural status. Their masculinity precludes them from banal mortality. They are “the deathless ones who shine and live/In arms, in arts or song,/The brightest the whole wide world can give/To that little land belong”. The male subject becomes validated and immortalised in reward for his exhibition of masculinity. He is able to claim the “glorious charter” that is to say “I’m an Englishman”. This masculinity is of course, directly related to the ability of the male to colonise on behalf of the domestic, feminised motherland. The Englishman is always described in terms of his activity (as opposed to passivity):
“The Briton may traverse the pole or the zone
And boldly claim his right;
For he calls such a vast domain his own
That the sun never sets on his might.”
Even morality of The Englishman is coded in terms of its activity. He “leaps with burning glow,/The wrong and weak to defend;/And strikes as soon for a trampled foe/As it does for a soul-bound friend”. In this way, the masculinity of the colonial male is delineated and re-affirmed by the female poetic voice, who in turn represents the validating domestic sphere that is England itself. A similar coding of the motherland can be found in Tennyson’s “Opening of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition by the Queen”. The very title of the poem (and indeed, the act it describes) exhibit the power of the domestic female, epitomised in Queen Victoria to validate the colonial activity of the male subject. Domestic familial relationships are stressed in the poem; the colonising agents are not ‘other’ to the homeland but “[s]ons and brothers”. Tennyson evokes a sense of national solidarity through his continual admonition to the reader: “Britons, hold your own!” Most significantly, Tennyson expresses his wish that “…as ages run,/The mother may be featured in the son”. That is, that the then Prince of Wales, Albert Edward would live up to the success of his mother, Queen Victoria. The politics of the nation thus become flattened to the domestic: the mother enables the masculinity of her son, who in turn provide, “Produce of your field and flood,/Mount and mine, and primal wood;/Works of subtle brain and hand,/And splendours of the morning land.” Thus, in both poems, the masculinity of the son of England is indexed to his ability to provide – a metaphor that once again conflates domestic and colonial representations. The female voice (speaking from the motherland) may validate and enable this activity but the activity itself is ultimately the domain of the male subject.
These various appropriates of feminine metaphors act as a counterpoint to the development of a colonising masculinity. In Tennyson’s “Opening of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition by the Queen”, discussed above, the poet constructs the image of colonising sons of England as a counterpoint to the female domestic epitomised in the image of Queen Victoria. Like Cook’s Englishman, Tennyson’s masculinity is an active, progressive forces, rather than passive or stagnant. The masculinity of the male subject is not implied but rather achieved through the colonising action:
“And may yours for ever be
That old strength and constancy
Which has made your fathers great
In our ancient island State,
And wherever her flag fly,
Glorying between sea and sky
Makes the might of Britain known”
The ability of the male to achieve masculinity (through identification with the father) is achieved through military/colonial conquest. If the role of the domestic female is to enable the conquest of the son-figure, it’s fully realised father-figure form retains the ability to order and control – the female space can only express a passive, matriarchal authority while the male possesses the active power of the patriarch. Tennyson explores this construction through reference to the United States. He states that previous rulers, “[d]rove from out the mother’s nest/That young eagle of the West/To forage for herself alone”. It is the domain (and responsibility) of the patriarch to organise and control the family-empire. The existence of the patriarch-figure implicitly creates the family unit and the empire as a whole. Most importantly, the masculinity of the imperial project serves to unify the nation and create a sense of security and solidarity. Tennyson describes this in the final stanza of the poem:
“Shall we not thro’ good and ill
Cleave to one another still?
Britain’s myriad voices call
‘Sons, be welded each and all
Into one imperial whole,
One with Britain, heart and soul!
One life, one flag, one fleet, one Throne!”
As a result, the ‘myriad voices’ of a dissolute empire become solidified through a masculine construct. This vision of masculinity if further expounded by Rudyard Kipling in his poem, “If—“. Written from a father’s perspective, the poem explores the transfer of masculinity from father to son. The title of the poem and the continual repetition of the word ‘if’ signal to the audience the prescriptive nature of masculinity. It is not granted but achieved if the subject in question conforms to the prescriptions. Like Cook’s description of masculine morality, Kipling indexes ethical behaviour to activity. The opening stanza of the poem describes a man who “can think — and not make thoughts [his] aim”. The ultimate pursuit of the ideal male is not metaphysical but actively physical – he is described as continually rebuilding, “with worn-out tools” that which is destroyed. The physicality of masculinity is something that Kipling repeatedly emphasises throughout the poem. The masculine man can “…fill the unforgiving minute/With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run”. He is judged both by his physical superiority and by his ability to progress both literally and metaphorically. His progression becomes metaphorically related to the colonial project itself, the act of moving out and testing oneself physically and mentally. Ultimately, Kipling suggests that masculinity is achieved through control. Firstly, through control of the self, “the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’”. Having established this trait, the masculine male is able to control his surroundings. In a continual state of conquest, the man “can make a heap of all [his] winnings/And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,/And lose, and start again at [his] beginnings/And never breathe a word about your loss”. For those who manage to achieve the standards set out in the poem, Kipling promises “the Earth and everything that’s in it,/And — which is more — you’ll be a man my son”. As with femininity, metaphors of empire and masculinity become confused into a mutually referring set of signifiers. The ideal man is a colonising force and the imperial project is analogous to the achievement of masculinity.
In summation, the process of colonisation and the Victorian conceptualisation of gender are mutually reinforced through their representation in contemporaneous text. The literature of the time shows a tendency to depict the act of colonisation as sexual conquest by rendering the native population passive and feminine. Similarly, radical feminist politics are represented by Tennyson as a dangerous cultural other, in need of a colonising masculine influence. In both cases, the feminine and the colonial become conflated into indistinct categories so that one can stand for the other. In contrast, the image of the motherland serves as an equally feminine but more matriarch signifier. The matriarch, epitomised in the depiction of Queen Victoria can validate and enable the colonising male but is ultimately relegated to passivity. It is the domain, therefore of the male to provide for and protect the domestic sphere of the homeland through the colonial mechanism. This ability to provide and protect becomes a signifier of masculinity. Masculinity becomes itself imperial, therefore. As a result, the achievement of masculinity becomes, like femininity, conflated in ambiguity. Ultimately, the subjects achievement of masculinity comes about not only the act of colonisation itself but by metaphorical relationship to the creation and maintenance of the empire – an imperial masculinity.
Cultural Imperialism In Kipling’s Works
The White Men’s Burden was written by Rudyard Kipling. We can say that this is a fight song, a hymn and an encouraging song that he wrote for the white people, addressing the white people. This was the time when the white people were considered to be superior. The poem basically gives us an insight of what white men were thinking when they were sent over to Philippines.
Kipling believes that since they are superior rich and powerful therefore it is their duty to help those who are not doing well in their lives. Kipling is also saying that they should be patient and accept their responsibility to be the provider of food in order to end the famine and get rid of the sickness and diseases and bring them to light because according to Kipling the natives or the colonized were backward, in darkness and he thought that they, the whites, were doing a favor to them by colonizing. He also states that the white people would not get any appreciation and would face resistance and hate from the people but they should not stop from achieving their noble goal and should be patient as all this is for a greater good.
What I think about this poem is that it is an insult to the colored people and that it portrayed the “non-white” people to be inferior and dependant on the white people and without their help colored people would not be able to prosper. What is important is that the poem was written in a time when people of different race had no rights whatsoever and all the rights were given to the white people. We also have to keep in mind that this was period of colonialism and in this very period different empires struggled to expand and to spread their wings and so were the Americans.
So what Kipling actually did is that he smacked the cultural imperialism by portraying the natives (non-native people) to be brutes, barbaric and uncultured people. Kipling made the white have sympathy but at the same time he gave them a sense of pride and made them feel as if they were superior and had the right to rule over the people of color. According to me, all Kipling did is that he presented and defunded racism, imposition, imperialism and colonialism as something philanthropic.
Two Sides of Kim’s Character
In Kipling’s Kim, our protagonist fills the role of a hybrid: He is Irish, but born in India. As a result, his life is split in two by the different influences. His duality allows him to fill the various roles that are requested of him. Kim is a versatile boy, able to handle several difficult tasks beyond his age. Indeed, it is apparent that he is a “two-sided man.” This theme is introduced in the poem “The Two-Sided Man,” by Kipling, of which a section can be found in the introduction of chapter eight. It emphasizes the character’s duality in the phrase, “And praised be Allah Who gave me two / Separate sides to my head!” For Kim, it seems that each of his sides is separated into two separate worlds, one of being a chela and one of being a sahib.
One world, in which Kim lives, is the world created with the Lama. After he joins the Lama’s journey, he gets sucked into the world of the spiritual. In the poem, there is a reference to the “side” of the spiritual, as it says, ““Wesley’s following, Calvin’s flock, / White or yellow or bronze, / Shaman, Ju-ju or Angekok, / Minister, Mukamuk, Bonze.” This implies that all walks of the spiritual life are good, creating an equality reflected in Kim’s ethnic background. Although he is Irish, he is on the same level as any Indian. He fits the role of being an Indian, which helps him while doing his duties as a chela. Being the Lama’s chela, he is taken on to aid the old man in his basic needs, and he works to guide him to the river that he seeks. They get by together, often with the bare minimum. The poem makes reference to this, as well. It says, “I would go without shirt or shoe, / Friend, tobacco or bread.” Being an orphan, living on the streets, has enabled him to deal with such conditions, and thrive. His background, of an Indian street rat, comes in handy. It helps him to procure the needs of the Lama, as well as helping him to interact with the people. He knows the customs of the native people and takes advantage of this; also, his contacts are valuable throughout the novel. Although it does not aid the Lama, being the son of a soldier helped him obtain an education and St. Xavier’s. All his interactions with the Lama, and the native peoples, can be lumped into one section, which is his life as a chela.
On the other hand, however, Kim is also a sahib, or white. This side of Kim obviously strongly relates to colonialism. As the British Empire has a strong presence in India, Kim’s whiteness reflects the role of the British Army in the novel. As Kim is recruited as a spy for Colonel Creighton, he falls into the world of the British. Everything that is British is separated from that which is Indian. His background, as a white, helps him to accomplish his tasks as a spy. He is clever, to start with, and his whiteness affects how people receive him. He enters into a world where Indians were generally not accepted. He fits comfortably in the world of Colonel Creighton. It even seems that Kim takes him on as a father figure and role model. Indeed, it seems that Creighton takes on a stronger role, as a father figure, than Mahbub Ali. But it is Mahbub Ali who says to Kim, “Once a Sahib, always a Sahib.” There is a certain permanence in Kim’s state. He cannot change his skin color, nor his heritage. He will always be a sahib to the native people. Even if he saw a role model in Mahbub Ali, he is of a different world. In the end, they will always be on other sides of the spectrum. Even his Indian friends are separate from him, regardless of his wishes. Once his whiteness is established, it prevents any further strong sentimental interaction between him and the Indian world. Even in the end, without the Lama, he seeks out more people like himself. He further immerses himself in the world of the sahib.
Kim’s hybridity makes him an ideal match for the duties he takes on. Being an Irish in India, Kim does not seem to have his own place. He is neither British nor Indian. For most of the story, he cannot fit in either world, so he takes on his own mix of the two. Being a chela, he utilizes the skills that he learned from the Indian streets. He knows who to beg from and how to act towards them in order to get the most out. He makes a great guide, being that he knows the land fairly well. Furthermore, he is familiar with the religious associations with the Lama, and he acts appropriately towards him. At the same time, being white, he assimilates perfectly into their world. He slips in and out of various social circles virtually unnoticed. He knows of their customs, and uses that to uncover information as a spy. He also fit in at his school. The men of his dead father’s army treat him kindly, almost looking after him. Thus, he has all the opportunities of not only an Indian boy but an English boy. It is appropriate, therefore, that throughout the novel, he is referred to repeatedly as, “The Friend of all the World.” He has the ability to be a friend to everyone he meets, even if he is spying on them. At the same time, this seems to give him an identity crisis. He does not know where he fits in. Even the poem, “The Two-Sided Man” goes back to the same theme. He lacks any strong religious association. As the poem says, “Much I reflect on the Good and the True / In the Faiths beneath the sun, / But most to Allah Who gave me two Sides to my head, not one.” He simply thanks Allah and hopes that any god will be there for him. While in the story he follows the Lama in search of the river, he is not wholeheartedly interested in his spirituality. This is clear because he is a spy: The act of eavesdropping and stealing secrets cannot be approved of by a deity. Hence, he is stuck in the middle of religion, too. All along, however, he respects the Lama for his devotion. It seems he may even envy how the Lama is so driven and has such strong direction. Being a hybrid, he does not have a strong drive to anything in particular. Until he found his niche with being a spy, he had little else to do. Being a white Irish boy in British colonized India, there is little he could be devoted to without sacrificing who he is.
Kim seems undecided of what “side” he would like to live on. As he fits into both worlds, it is hard for him to commit to one facet or the other of his life. It raises a question about the author. Being that Kipling was British and born in India, what influence did this have on the novel? Perhaps some of his feelings are transferred into Kim’s character. It seems he may have felt disconnected with England, while still feeling some loyalty to the land he was born into, just as Kim feels attached to his non-native Indian culture. At the same time, there is a point in chapter three when the Lama says, “There is no pride, there is no pride among such as follow the Middle Way.” The term “Middle Way” throughout the book refers to the Buddhist principle avoiding all extremes. Is it relevant then, that Kim does avoid all extremes? As a hybrid, he is neither white nor Indian. Hence, he does travel on the Middle Way. Unknowingly, he and the Lama travel the same path.
Becoming a Man
Rudyard Kipling’s “If-” explores the themes of manhood, hard work, and discipline. The speaker feels that one should have humility, confidence, and several other virtues in order to be a man. Kipling uses literary techniques including anaphora, juxtaposition, and personification to persuade his son to become a man, giving the poem significance to readers in all eras who are trying to find their own sense of “manhood”.
The speaker emphasizes the importance of being confident, humble, and balanced throughout the entirety of the poem, suggesting that one can fulfill his or her greatest potential by following the poem’s guidelines. The speaker feels that one should “keep [his] head when all about [him]/Are losing theirs and blaming it on [him]”(1-2) while also making “allowance for their doubting too”(4). It is good to be confident in oneself, but arrogance should be avoided; one must have strong self-trust while being open to the possibility that others could be correct instead. He thinks that one should be able to “risk it [all] on one turn of pitch-and-toss,/And lose, and start again at your beginnings,/And never breathe a word about your loss”(18-20). One must be humble and disciplined from complaining when things go wrong in order to be a true man. He states that one can be a man “If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you”(27) and “If all men count with you, but none too much”(28). There must be equilibrium between keeping a thick skin in all relationships and valuing all people’s opinions. If all of these things are achieved, then “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,/And- which is more- you’ll be a Man, my son!”(31-32) The speaker is giving the poem’s advice to his son, but additionally to the readers of the poem, who also indirectly learn that the completion of all these things will give them the world as well as manhood.
Kipling highlights his argument using the literary techniques of anaphora, juxtaposition, irony, and personification, making readers relate to and believe his message more easily. He begins nearly every other line with “If you…” and continues with what should be done in each situation. By repeating this structure, the importance of following each rule is emphasized. He then juxtaposes inaction with action when he stresses being able to “dream- and not make dreams your master”(9) and “think- and not make thoughts your aim”(10). One cannot simply be enthralled with dreams and thoughts to be a man; one must act and not become a slave to complacency. He later values being able to “meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same”(11-12). He calls them both “impostors” because they are both temporary, and he ironically capitalizes the concepts’ names to highlight that they are seemingly important, but should be treated as insignificant. By using these devices, Kipling makes his poem effective, engaging, and persuasive to a wider audience.
The speaker’s emphasis on endurance and self-restraint parallels my value of hard work and perseverance, resulting in a strong connection between me and the poem. He maintains the significance of being able to “[be] lied about, [and not] deal in lies/Or being hated [not giving] way to hating”(6-7). He thinks one should aspire to make your heart and body “serve your turn long after they are gone,/And so hold on when there is nothing in you/Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”(22-24) These lines appeal specifically to those who harbor a strong work ethic, those who always manage to focus myself on the task at hand and complete it even under duress. He highlights that one can be a man by filling “the unforgiving minute/With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run”(29-30). He feels it is necessary to make the most of all the time we can use, leading readers to appreciate the benefit of acting wholeheartedly; putting half effort into a task or project will result in a mediocre outcome, whereas a concentrated attempt would have produced a much better product and only taken slightly more effort. Because the speaker’s view towards hard work and choices are easily understandable, the poem is more impactful and memorable than other ones.
Rudyard Kipling’s “If-” highlights the value of hard work and becoming a man through actions. He feels that if we try to take the easy way out, we will never truly be great. In societies plagued by vices such as hatefulness and laziness, this poem can be brought to mind to remind its readers that hard work is required for success.
Plot Summary, Structural and Thematic Analysis of the Novel Kim by Rudyard Kipling
The novel is unraveled against the setting of the Great Game, the political clash among Russia and Britain that existed in central Asia. The novel presented the topic of incredible power contention and intrigue vividly. The story takes place after the second Afghan War that ended in the 1890s, but it was before the third war. Kim by Rudyard Kipling is essentially a fairy tale, about an orphan named Kimball O’Hara. This book is set in the late 1890s in British India. Kim invests his energy in the city of Lahore circling, searching nourishment, and for the most part, driving a lighthearted and underhandedness substantial life. Kim’s prescience descends from his presently perished dad: allegedly, Kim’s fortunes will change once he locates a Red Bull on an emerald-green field. What’s more, two men will seem first to set up the path for the landing of this Red Bull.
Kim is playing before the Lahore Museum, which throughout the book is called the Wonder house. He recognizes somebody wearing garments of a trend he’s never observed. The man is a Tibetan Buddhist that derives from the North, he is a lama as well. The lama needs to address the custodian of the Wonder House since he has heard that the caretaker is an astute man. He needs to converse with shrewd individuals since he is searching for an entity that is critical to him, the River of the Arrow. As indicated by the lama, once amid a trial of quality the Buddha shot a bolt out a long ways past his uttermost target. When the arrow landed, a River consequently jumped up. The lama’s goal is to find a stream that he can bathe in so that he can be enlightened. Kim is intrigued by the lama, he admires his unusual qualities, and the solemnity he obtains. Because of this, Kim insists that he goes on his voyage with him in attempts to locate the River of the Arrow.
The lama welcomingly accompanies chela, they then arrange to venture off to the heavenly city of Benares together. Kim and the lama proceed to travel south by train and on foot. They establish a much more sincere connection for each other while on the journey despite Kim’s mind being quite different from Mahbub Ali. Kim then gives the Englishman his note, further establishing that there are a total of five kings in northern India who are planning to break away from the British Indian government. Kim enjoys conveying data that has a genuine effect on state choices. He then returns to the lama and they proceed to look for the lama’s River of the Arrow. While venturing into the army camp, Kim gets captured by an Anglican minister appended to the regiment. The minister finds out that Kim is really a British boy, the lama then offers to compensate for Kim’s educational cost to St. Xavier’s (Kim, by Rudyard Kipling). At first, Kim despises his school; however, he is then recommended to Colonial Creighton, and this hatred quickly changes. Colonial Creighton takes him under his wing. As the school year comes to a close, Creighton urges Kim to devote his time over the summer to a man named Lurgan. Kim’s aspirations are to become an agent within the British Indian Secret Service. Before allowing Kim to roam India Creighton orders him to travel for six months to recall what true life in India is like. Kim is accompanied down to Benares by a man named Babu. Throughout the time that Kim has spent in school, the lama has been traveling quite a bit. The lama wants to rejoin Kim and go on a quest for the river while hoping to obtain Enlightenment. The Babu informs Kim about why he is here. Babu has noticed two suspicious Russian agents being overly friendly with the rebel kings. The babu needs to obtain the messages that these folks may convey, but he doesn’t want to do it alone, which is why he recruits Kim to accompany him. Everything reaches a critical stage when the two specialists, run into Kim and the lama while out and about.
The lama is in the middle of conveying his drawing to Kim when the agents proceed to attempt and take the drawing from the lama. He smacks the lama in the face when the lama says he will not sell it to them. The men then flee, but they leave behind their luggage. Kim then searches it and locates a secured crate full of messages from the slope rulers that discuss injustice against the British Indian government. Kim then proceeds to sleep for 36 hours, a lot goes on while he is asleep (Kim, by Rudyard Kipling). While Kim was dozing, the lama had an intense dream. In his vision, the lama was flying high over the world and coming appropriated to the edge of the Great Soul at the focal point of creation. The lama exits the dream splashing wet, this waterway in which he came across must be the River of the Arrow. The lama has finally discovered his River and is prepared to indicate it to Kim to bring him insight. The lama, at last, has gone to a profound comprehension of his place on the planet. The novel is written in third-person omniscient. Kim is the narrator throughout the novel and seemingly communicates information on the feelings of the characters, he appears to know basically everything about essentially everyone. However, there is also plenty of insight that is given on Mahbub Ali and Creighton every so often, plainly the accentuation on Kim is a decision instead of a fundamental confinement on the storyteller’s point of view.
Moreover, the narrator takes on a distant, definite point of view, that includes precise perspectives. In this way, to utilize film terms, there are instances when the reader takes in unbelievable measures of visual data. At some point Kim pauses to examine the groups on the convoy, or when he experiences the distinctive urban areas amidst India or the beautiful scenery of the Himalayas, the storyteller presents these stupendous previews of the scope of individuals or the magnificence of the scene, attracting regard for the size and variety before Kim (Kim, by Rudyard Kipling).
An example of this from Lurgan’s house in Simla, “There were ladies in search of necklaces, and men, it seemed to Kim—but his mind may have been vitiated by early training—in search of the ladies; natives from independent and feudatory courts whose ostensible business was the repair of broken necklaces—rivers of light poured upon the table—but whose true end seemed to be to raise money for angry Maharanees or young Rajahs” (Chapter 9, pg. 107). This quote exemplifies, Kipling’s ability to describe a wide variety of people. Lurgan’s home offers a cross-segment of Indian culture itself, the storyteller is able to heap on numerous details in order to stress the scale and extent of the society. Throughout the story, there are various overarching themes that are present. Imperialism is a theme that is conveyed from the beginning to the end of the novel. The finely created depiction of solidarity and correspondence Kipling creates among “native” and “Sahib” classes with the unavoidable certainty that the British are the overseeing class, and the Indians are the administered (Kipling’s ‘Kim’ Study Guide). Kipling conveys the imperialist occupancy in India as undeniably positive.
This occurs most successfully through the primary plot of the novel, that the undertakings of Indian and British Governments agents are too ensure the northern border of British India from the infringement if Russia, along these lines securing the supreme interests of the British Empire. It is particularly critical that Indian covert spies are shown protecting British interests. Along these lines, Kipling builds an India in which the local populace bolsters the British empire, therefore, showing Britain’s radical nearness as a positive decent (Kipling’s ‘Kim’ Study Guide). This leads to the conclusion that Kim’s imperialist ideology is nothing more than a narrative strategy, in order to represent Kim’s authority over the native inhabitants of the colony. Kim embodied attitudes towards British rule in India, these ideas in current time are unacceptable (Imperialism in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim). Kipling trusted it was correct and appropriate for Britain to ‘possess’ India and manage its people, thus the likelihood that this position may undoubtedly be sketchy never appears to have entered Kipling’s thoughts. Notwithstanding, when Kipling was composing, there was an impressive uprising of revolt among Indians against British control yet Kipling seems to reject this throughout the novel when he could have recognized it (Imperialism in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim). As far as clarifying colonization and government, along these lines, Kim is the perfect epitome of the clashing Indian and English universes. Kipling renders a dream of India where scholarly, moral and political limits are not as equivalent.
For sure, if Kipling accepted, as he very much contended, that East and West can never truly meet in the Indian colony, this is the point where Kim ensures they don’t. Kipling’s dominion turns out to be more obvious. Kipling had confidence in racial distinction, that is, in European predominance and for him, British authority in India was a strong reality (Imperialism in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim). Therefore, the Great Empire deeply affected Rudyard Kipling’s artistic inventiveness, particularly in the formation of his characters and the unmistakable lives that they lived. Kipling’s Kim encapsulates the supreme divisions among white and nonwhite that existed in India when the predominantly white Christian nations of Europe controlled around 85 percent of the world (Imperialism in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim). Orientalism and identity are two themes that are extremely prevalent throughout the story. Orientalism has come to be represented through the information and convictions about the people groups of the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. It has been built and forced upon their nations by their Western European colonizers.
A large number of the perceptions of Indian life introduced in Kim are disdainful generalizations, that came from orientalists’ convictions (Real English). These defamatory ethnic generalizations pointedly appear differently in relation to Kipling’s depictions of the British, as the British culture further developed (Kim, by Rudyard Kipling). For instance, when Lurgan Sahib endeavors to entrance Kim, Kim then recounts the multiplication tables that he learned at school in English to oppose, this symbolizes Kipling’s belief in the progression of British law beyond the superstitious methods for the Asians (Real English). This diversity all through Kim serves to help and legitimize the administer of the “more skilled” British over the Indian individuals. Kim’s character is put in a dilemma of identity as Kim, an Irish vagrant, experiences childhood in the avenues of the Indian city of Lahore and adjusts to the way of life and dialects of India. Because of this, Kim can technically say that he is an individual from any religious or social gathering of India. He is without a moment’s delay a Sahib and, by uprightness of his childhood, a piece of the colonized society (Real English). Kim starts to experience an emergency of personality when he is first made to go to class to become a Sahib. The inquiry of character and belonging drastically affects Kim all through the story, abandoning him with a sentiment of forlornness.
Despite the fact that Kim’s contention of identity is achieved by all of a sudden being immersed into the British culture, it is huge that Kipling does not enforce Kim’s individual catastrophe in which he must pick between living as a Sahib or a native. Through Kim’s inevitable capacity to accommodate both, Kipling symbolizes his larger prototype of a unified British India (Real English). The epitome of the correspondence and solidarity of men echoes over a few themes in Kim, predominantly through the Buddhist lessons of Teshoo Lama. He says to Kim, “To those who follow the Way there is neither black nor white, Hind nor Bhotiyal. We be all souls seeking to escape. ” This idea of the equality and unity of men rises above the demanding caste system, it is dominant in the Hindu society that Kim has known for all of his life (Real English). The lama lugs a chart with him called the Wheel of Life, or, in other words, a portrayal of the Buddhist tenet that all lives are equally bound in the cycle of life and that all spirits look for discharge from this cycle by accomplishing Enlightenment. The various references to the Wheel of Life throughout the story serve to fortify the message of balance and solidarity (Kim, by Rudyard Kipling).
The lama’s lessons and his journey for Enlightenment are rarely the subjects of Kipling’s feedback, as are different religious convictions displayed in Kim: preferably, the goals of the novel incorporate the lama’s victorious accomplishment of Enlightenment, which serves to verify, as opposed to invalidate, the tenet of uniformity and solidarity resounded throughout (Real English). Kipling likewise utilizes the subject of unity to depict a perfect India that isn’t partitioned by the government but instead is brought together under it. This is particularly apparent in the connections betwixt the characters who take an interest in the Great Game: Mahbub Ali, an Afghan; Lurgan Sahib, a man of “blended” race; Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, a Bengali; and Colonel Creighton, an Englishman, an officer, and hence an individual from the ruling class (Real English). Regardless of their divergent foundations, every one of these characters is joined in a tight fellowship of reconnaissance that operates to secure the interests of the British Empire in India. It is critical that Kipling indicates both British and Indian characters similarly are working on an equivalent reason for the benefit of the realm. This serves to advance a glorified, far-fetched depiction of a particularly joined together, all-embracing British India (Real English).
At the point when Kim was published in 1901, the British empire was the most influential realm on the planet. The Indian subcontinent was a standout amongst the most essential parts of the empire, which numerous “Anglo-Indians” called home. Imperialism was not simply the act of the British Empire’s demonstrations of colonization of different ground and individuals; dominion was a reasoning that expected the predominance of British human progress and consequently the ethical duty to convey their enlightened approaches to the “uncivilized” individuals of the world.
Corrupt Colonialism in “The Man Who Would Be King”
The nineteenth century was a period of great colonial expansion for the British Empire. It was during this period of time that Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous novella “The Man Who Would Be King.” It tells the story of two British explorers in India who decide to travel to Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan, and become kings. Although many approved of the expansion of the empire and the colonizing of many natives in the Eastern parts of the world, people did not always agree with the methods and motivations behind the actions of explorers and colonizers. This story is a clear criticism from Kipling on the ills of the British colonialism occurring in India during this time, specifically the immorality of the motivations and methods of the imperialization, as well as a commentary on the problems created by the individual moral character of the men who would be kings.
Kipling, as a consequence of the time in which he lived, held many of the same beliefs as most of the Westerners that they were superior to those of the other countries and territories that they had visited and imperialized. However, in “The Man Who Would Be King” we can see that he did not always agree with their methods nor the consequences of these actions. Carnehan and Dravot, the main characters of this short story, are two adventurers who decide to travel to a remote part of Afghanistan. This location has so far remade untouched by the British Empire and they hope to use this to their advantage. They convince the local peoples that they are gods and live among them for a time content with the kingdom they have acquired. However, their greed and lust get the best of them and their mortality is revealed. As a consequence, Dravot was killed and Carnehan was crucified but survived and then was set free. He returned home in order to tell their tale.
This tale demonstrates the prevalent beliefs of the West at the time, that the indigenous peoples in many areas could be easily dominated and subjugated under the command of the British Empire. They believed that this would even be to their benefit. However, in “The Man Who Would Be King,” Kipling shows that the consequences of such actions are not always the best and that the intentions of the imperialists will often not be the most beneficial. When the men arrive to see the narrator, a British journalist in India, they tell him of their plan to become gods and he tells them they are being foolish—“You’ll be cut to pieces before you’re fifty miles across the Border…The people are utter brutes, and even if you reached them you couldn’t do anything” (1859). Just like the reporter, many people believed that the natives were unreasonable and wild. Carnehan and Dravot continue to expound their plan of how they will become kings and be rich rulers of their own lands instead of being under British Imperial Rule. Just like these men, the imperialists who began territorializing India and other Eastern areas did not always have the most altruistic intentions and only sought personal gain.
At first their venture was successful, they were able to come into power and lived for quite some time among the people. However, Dravot becomes greedy and lustful and wants to take one of the natives to wife. This gets him into trouble, it is revealed that they are mortals, and the natives to try kill them. This commentary demonstrates that although the British Empire seems to be having success in their endeavors to expand, if the individuals and leaders who are running things become greedy or don’t demonstrate the right intentions, things will back fire and cause problems. Kipling communicates this idea that if the two adventurers had been more focused on their people and being generous kings, they would not have been led to their downfall. Kipling was not opposing all types of imperialism, only the greedy and selfish leaders that had become prevalent in many areas of the East as the British Empire grew.
Like most leaders, in the beginning Dravot and Carnehan pledged to remain focused on their business enterprise in their contract that, among other things, said that they would not “look at any Liguor, nor any Woman, black, white, or brown, so as to get mixed up with one or the other harful…conduct ourselves with dignity and discretion” (1860). This, however, does not last and it leads to their downfall. Kipling helps us to see the importance of having men of integrity lead in these far-off areas of the British Empire, those who will stick to their obligations rather than being led away by greed and selfishness. This adventuring and profiteering type of man was prevalent in the British Empire because many felt that they could take advantage of the natives. Being a British journalist, Rudyard Kipling would have seen much of this and felt a distaste at the way the Imperialism was occurring and being handled by these men.
“The Man Who Would Be King” was a short story written by Rudyard Kipling to reveal some of the evils and downfalls of the Imperialistic attitudes that were prevalent among Westerners during this period of great expansion of the British Empire. Although many among the British approved of the expansion of the empire, the methods and motivations behind the expansion were not always seen as generous and altruistic towards the natives. Kipling demonstrates the problems and consequences of these attitudes and the actions of these types of men who took advantage of the natives they believed were so easily dominated. He uses this short story to give his commentary on the moral implications and the effects of the expansion.
Rudyard Kipling’s View of the British Imperial Empire
Rudyard Kipling is widely understood to be a strong defender of the British Empire. However, Kipling’s prose piece, ‘The Man Who Would Be King’, reveals a deeper ambiguity about the Empire, exposing many of the flaws that lay at the heart of the imperial expansion. In this piece two men, Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan, grow tired of the stagnant and impractical rule of the British colonies in India. Theyt off on an ill-fated adventure to become kings in their own right. Additionally, Kipling’s work ‘The White Man’s Burden’ also deals with the faults in the creation and governance of an imperial empire. However both works do this in very different ways.
‘The Man Who Would Be King’ is the story of two men, Peachey Carnehan and Daniel Davrot, a pair of uneducated adventurers, drunkards, confidence artists and blackmailers, who try to establish themselves as god-kings of Kafiristan. Kafiristan is described as the eastern province of Afghanistan, on the southern slopes of the Hindu Kush Mountains. The two men have no legitimate claim whatsoever to this region but Davrot becomes king by declaring himself a god under the extraordinary coincidence that the masonic symbols on his robe match that of local prophecy and legend. However when he tries to extend his power to far by taking a native girl to be his wife, in direct defiance of the traditions and culture of the native people, the girl bites him and draws blood proving he is in fact not a god. The mini-empire is founded on deceit; and once Davrot is revealed to be ”neither God nor Devil, but a man”, he is attacked and eventually killed by the native people. Kipling’s view here is that a direct invasion of a native-foreign culture for the sole purpose of ruling, subjugating, and exploitation is never a good thing and is doomed to fail. Daniel and Peachy were not trying to elevate their subjects, nor were they trying to better them or their situation; but merely sought personal wealth and gain as seen in the following quote, “The country isn’t half worked out because they that governs it won’t let you touch it. They spend all their blessed time in governing it, and you can’t lift a spade, nor chip a rock, nor look for oil, nor anything like that without all the Government saying—‘Leave it alone and let us govern.’ Therefore, such as it is, we will let it alone, and go away to some other place where a man isn’t crowded and can come to his own… we are going away to be Kings.” This is coming on the tail of a discussion by Daniel and the narrator-a representation of Kipling himself- about how petty work and governance of the British Empire doesn’t allow a man to build wealth.
The two view empire as a means of generating personal wealth, not as an exercise in political, social and cultural development. It could perhaps be argued that it is this quality that makes Peachey and Davrot unfit to rule and leads ultimately to their downfall. Had their intentions been less altruistic, they would not have lied and set themselves up as gods, but as leaders who wished to better the people. Instead they ruled by fear and subjection, as did the British Empire. They set themselves up for downfall when their lie was exposed. In the same way, the real-life British Imperialist tendencies almost always fell apart as the surface altruism fell away under the typical need to subjugate and exploit native peoples.
By contrast, ‘The White Man’s Burden’ is a call to the “White Man” at the center of the empire to bring civilization and education to the natives of the conquered populations of the Empire. [The purposes of empire is so the white man, the civilized British Empire, came to work for the welfare of the peoples of the conquered inductions of the empire, but should expect no thanks for his efforts.]-reword In fact, he can expect to be met with resistance and resentment from the “silent, sullen peoples” whose situation he works to better. ‘The White Man’s Burden’ is the act of building an empire as a noble service, bringing the benefits of the enlightened people-namely the British Empire-to the uncivilized masses. It is by that measure that Peachy and Daniel, an allusion for the Imperialist British Empire, fail. Peachy and Daniel seek to build their empire for altruistic reasons and pay the price when their altruism erodes away. The British Empire often viewed the native people and ignorant and stupid, as by some measure less that human. This was paralleled by Peachy and Daniel as they built their empire. But after some time was spent with the natives Peachy and Daniel realized they were, in fact, people with ideas and opinions, saying that, “They are Englishmen, these people” which incidentally is in of itself a racist statement. This shows how the natives are thought of as subhuman and how the only true measure of humanity is whether or not they are an “Englishmen.”
In “The Man Who Would Be King’ and in ‘The White Man’s Burden’, Kipling deals with the rise and fall of an empire created for altruistic purposes and the burden placed on the creators of the empire, whom Kipling believes must suffer in order to improve the lives of the subjects of the empire. Kipling goes so far as to acknowledge the “blame” and “hate” of “those ye better”. He references the natives hate for the occupational forces of Britain despite how they are supposedly trying to better them, a phenomenon he must have been well aware of having lived in India most of his life. Together, these texts paint an unsavory picture of an empire built on avarice and pride, sustained by people who traveled far across the world only to fall victim to tropical diseases and who died thousands of miles away from home, and shaken by the anger of the people whose native lands had been taken over by foreigners with no legitimate claim to them. Kipling seems to have, perhaps unintentionally, created a strong case for the end of imperialism, despite his overt endorsement of the continuation of the existing European empires.
A Theme Of Imperialism In Shooting An Elephant By George Orwell, And The White Man’S Burden By Rudyard Kipling
“A situation in which one country has a lot of power or influence over others, especially in political and economic matters. ” This is how the Cambridge dictionary defines the term imperialism. A closely related term to imperialism is “colonialism”, which is described as “the belief in and support for the system of one country controlling another. ” These are terminologies that are frequently used to describe the situation of the British Empire, where Great Britain had colonized a quarter of the world. The already established civilizations that were colonized were forced to acclimate and adjust to the western lifestyle, which led to tension between the natives and the colonists. The literary works “Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell, and “The White Man’s Burden” by Rudyard Kipling both express the burden of imperialism and the strain of Europeans forcing their ideals upon indigenous peoples, which they do by means of literary devices and language features including imagery and various symbols.
“The White Man’s Burden” is a poem written by Rudyard Kipling, and published in 1899, also subtitled “The United States and the Philippines” – and his message is to America to take over Spain from the rule of the Philippine Islands. The poem is encouraging people to take up the so-called white man’s burden, which the poem describes as sending the best men you have out of the country and your sons into exile to serve your captives, for these “newly-discovered” people are mad, uninhabited, and both immature and devilish. There are seven stanzas in Kipling’s poem, and each one starts with “Take up the White Man’s burden”, and then the rest of the verse is telling what that burden consists of. The poem is full of cultural imperialism, with the superior Englishmen into a place of “sullen” brutes and imposing their civilizing behaviors and institutions. Racism comes across in “The White Man’s Burden” in a quite apparent way. We can read in the first stanza that the Indians, or “captive peoples” are “sullen peoples”, described as “Half-child and half-devil”. They are being shown the “good ways” but act offended and unappreciative toward the people who want to better them. Naturally, this approach is logical to us nowadays – because it makes no sense that native peoples would eagerly embrace the vicious, demeaning imperialist ways of another nation? – although Kipling appears to be curious as to why these people were not grateful and thanking their “enlightening” conquerors.
George Orwell wrote “Shooting an elephant” in 1936 about a conflicted period of his life while he was working as a policeman in colonial Burma, serving the British Empire. This particular novel examines an internal war Orwell feels in his role as an officer for the British Empire and staying truthful to the law. The narrator receives a telephone, and it is telling him about an elephant ravaging the bazaar. He brings his hunting rifle and gets down where the animal allegedly lurks. After a fatality is reported, the narrator orders an elephant rifle and locates the now-calm animal. At first, he has no intention of killing the elephant, and he feels it is wrongdoing killing such a beautiful animal. Then he sees the massive crowd of Burmese people surrounding him and is experiencing a dilemma. The crowd wants is awaiting a spectacle and expect him to maintain the demonstration of power he is meant to as a British officer. The novel ends with him defying his moral compass and shooting the elephant. He shoots his rifle a couple of times before the elephant falls to the ground. The elephant was still alive, but instead of ending its suffering, he leaves it, and later learns that it took half an hour before it was dead.
Orwell writes throughout the novel, about how imperialism effects not only the oppressed, but also the oppressors. In the novel, he states that “The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man’s life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at. ” This is how the narrator is thinking when he is going back and forth in his head whether to kill the elephant or not. We can interpret from this excerpt, how there is a difference in the imperialist belief and the actuality of how living in the East is for English people. According to imperialist ideology, the colonizers are doing the Burmese a favor as the intent is to alter their way of life socially and culturally, making them adhere to the standards set by the British. Although this is not what goes on in reality, or at least not in this example in Burma. It becomes evident in this novel that the cultural norms and rules still are in Burmese control, and it seems as if the narrator understands this collective relation, as he is fearful of embarrassment in front the Burmese people. If it was the other way around, having imperial rhetoric applicable, the narrator would not hesitate and concern himself with the opinions of the crowd.
The narrator is a symbol for the people he holds authority over, as a colonial policeman: He is an image for the citizens of an arbitrary and foreign rule and the object of their resentment and hatred. What about the elephant itself? A confined worker who, in his animal manner, resents his subjugation, he breaks loose, exercises his freedom, tramples one of his tormenters, and finally parks himself peacefully enough in a field. Yet rebellion requires punishment and he must die. The narrator is personifying the elephant, whose death description take on pathos. The characterized elephant becomes a living symbol of human nature put upon and deformed and finally sacrificed for something inhuman, but also sacrificed for the sake of the mob’s anger and appetite, so that he becomes the innocent victim of all parties, not merely of the colonial ‘‘oppressors. ’’