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White Men's Byrden Kiplin Essay

1602 words - 6 pages

Name: Hiba MajdoubProfessor: Laura RiceThe British Empire and Colonial Literature19 November 2014The White Man's Burden: Rudyard Kipling 1898During the 18th and 19th century, the bloody wars of colonialism seemed to echo the fierce debates, over the same issue, in newspapers, articles and also in poetry. While soldiers were struggling in the battlefields, intellectuals were wrestling with their thoughts and ideologies and reflecting them in different kind of writings. Opinions about imperialism were diverse and clashing even among the same group of people. But what made most of them consider their expansionism as the right thing to do, is their belief that it was "God-given mission" and responsibility to civilize the rest of the world.But what is it really the "white man's burden" or is it just the white man's excuse to expand and colonize and satisfy his greed? And how the colonial discourse was used to impose and justify power?The White Man's Burden, a poem by the English poet, novelist and short story writer Rudyard Kipling, is one of the well-known and poems about Imperialism. It was first written to convince the United States to follow in Britain's example and begin building an empire and join imperial powers by annexing Philippine.It is as describe it by Franklin D Roosevelt "rather poor poetry but good sense from the expansion point of view". The expression "white man's burden" was widely used in that era and employed to justify their deeds, as it was their duty to rule the rest of the world in order to spread civilization, cultural and economic development.In Kipling's poem, the sentence the "Take up the White Man's burden" is repeated in the first verse of every stanza, emphasizing the huge responsibility given to the white man and the need to be patient despite the hard, burdensome work they were given. To highlight this idea Kipling uses a specific lexical field; words and sentences like "exile, heavy harness, patience, threat of terror" underlying the various dangerous they are going through in order to "seek an other's profit"(line15) and "serve your captive's needs" (line4). In other words, the white man's expansionism has a noble goal. They were sent to "fill full the mouth of Famine" (line19) and "bid the sickness cease" (line20). They took over lands for no other reasons but bringing "towards the light" (line38) the native people. In this point we have an allusion to the mentality of Social Gospel; a belief in the duty of the rich to help and assist on the poor ones. It is about the equal redistribution of wealth in order to fill the needs of all people and fight hunger and poverty. Kipling seemed to believe in these ideas of philanthropy which he thought it could be done by colonizing those "new caught, sullen peoples, half devil, half child" (lines7/8). The pejorative language used to describe the natives reflects a racist view and a belief of superiority comparing to the "silent, sullen people" (line47) of these colonies. Here...

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