Rudyard Kipling - imperialism

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Rudyard Kipling's relation to India has greatly influenced his works. Born in Bombay, India, on December 30, 1865, Rudyard moved to a lodge in England at the age of six to receive his education. At the age of seventeen, he returned to India to start his writing career as a journalist. Within four years his first volume of poetry, Departmental Ditties, was privately published but quickly became a success. As seen in Departmental Ditties, Kipling's use of various themes has helped him to gain poetic notoriety. His subjects, including nature and social topics, usually relate to India.

Unlike "Recessional", however, "White Man's Burden" portrays the benefits of imperialism. To alleviate the negativity of the poem Kipling shows the positives of the British Empire and its rule. One theory of Kipling's, that unless England supports its colonies then they will fall, is heavily expressed in this verse (Middle 1). David Cody, Associate Professor of English at Hartwick College, points out that Kipling's British Empire can be compared to that of the ancient Roman Empire when saying,

"...its purpose was to maintain stability, order, and peace amongst the heathen, to relieve famine, provide medical assistance, to abolish slavery, to construct the physical and the psychological groundwork for 'civilization,' and to protect the mother country. It was an island security in a chaotic world" (Cody 1).Kipling's British Empire hindered and assisted in his creative process (Cody 1). It created numerous subjects for his works, but in return brought upon a backlash of harsh criticism.

Some other sociological references of Kipling's are found in "Tommy." "Tommy" addresses the horrible treatment of soldiers by civilians and the British public's hypocritical opinions of the military (Young 153). The ending lines of "Tommy" especially express societies "love/hate relationship" with its soldiers (Cantalupo 256).

"For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute! But it's 'Saviour of 'is country' when the guns begin to shoot" (37-40). Apart from the military "Tommy" is seen as a prime example of Kipling's writing style with the use of accurate dialect. Rudyard Kipling is seen as "the common-man's poet" shown in this particular verse with his use of dialect. "I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer, The publican 'e up an' sez, 'We serve no red-coats here.'

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