Name of the Student English Name of the Concerned Professor 12 April 2013 Text Analysis of Rudyard Kipling’s Poem White Man’s Burden and George Orwell’s Essay Shooting an Elephant There is no denying the fact that imperialism is a concept that invokes a mixed response from the people, depending on whether the evincing person is affiliated to an imperialist nation or the one that has been subjugated…
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Hence, Rudyard Kipling’s poem White Man’s Burden and George Orwell’s essay Shooting an Elephant are of apt relevance in this scenario in the sense that while Kipling’s poem reveals the benign sentiments of service and sincerity inherent in the minds of the people belonging to an imperialist nation, Orwell’s essay helps the readers to approach the issue from the mindset of a person who is totally averse to imperialism and endows it with exploitative and negative sentiments. It will be much apt to begin with an analysis of Rudyard Kipling’s poem White Man’s Burden. For the contemporary readers trained in a post imperialist environment that is so critical and unyielding towards imperialism, it needs to be said that Kipling’s poem ought to be analyzed while placing it in the right context, while taking the constraints of historicity into consideration. It goes without saying that even a cursory student of literature tends to know that history plays an important role in the shaping of a literary work (Attridge 154). Every poem or essay that one reads is to a large extent a product of the historical context in which it had been created (Attridge 154). In a current perspective people tend to be really tough while interpreting Rudyard Kipling’s poem White Man’s Burden, being totally oblivious of the fact that the times in which Kipling created this poem, imperialism was not only rampant but also happened to be a pulsating historical reality. Hence, this poem needs to be interpreted in the light of this historical reality. However, this approach in no way means that Kipling is trying to be ironical towards the notions of imperialism in the poem under consideration. Yes, to some extent Kipling is being ironical especially more so till the fifth stanza, however, in a conclusive context, throughout the poem he genuinely believes that the nations belonging to Western Europe had a duty towards the third world countries they had subjugated and hence they must do their best to bring a better life and education to the people living in these nations. Kipling strongly exhorts the Western civilizations to engage in this noble task with a sense of selflessness and service. Perhaps, to a modern day reader, Kipling in this poem may sound to be grossly politically incorrect. Yet, one should not be hasty in concluding that Kipling is being a racist in his poem White Man’s Burden. In the poem the term ‘White Man’s Burden’ tends to convey that the people hailing from Western civilizations have a greater capacity to do good to the people of the nations they have brought under their rule. For it is a fact that placing the poem in the times Kipling knew, it is a fact that Europe of those times had a better access to scientific development, education and progress (Christopher 69). Hence, the nations placed in Western Europe had a better capacity to do good to the third world nations. It sounds right in a historical context as by the time Kipling was born, a great chunk of the third world had already been brought under the Western dominion and imperialism was a pragmatic reality. In that context Kipling is in a way being critical of the imperialist notions of reducing the third world to a status of abject slavery and is exhorting the imperialist powers to wake up to
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European imperialism of the last few centuries were heavily centered on the perceived moral responsibility of its leaders toward other supposedly backward regions of the world Also referred to as the White Man's Burden,this notion of cultural,religious,scientific and administrative superiority over far-off civilizations had led to several negative consequences.
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According to the paper, the narrator has used irony and conflict as stylistic elements in order to communicate the main theme and purpose of the essay, which is to present evils and senselessness of imperialism. Combining the use of language and information with these two stylistic elements, fantastically.
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