The White Man’s Burden Discussion Questions
Born in India to a family headed by a member of the British Civil Service, Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) became one of the chief proponents and defenders of imperialism. Though he produced a variety of novels, stories, and other works, he is most famous for writing the poem The White Man’s Burden in which he urged the United States to take upon itself the burden of uplifting and civilizing the people of the recently occupied Philippines. Expand the question, additional file uploaded
Questions for Consideration and Discussion
- What does Kipling mean by the phrase “white man’s burden”?
- What, in Kipling’s view, was the nature of the relationship between the imperialists and the colonized?
- According to Kipling, how did colonial subjects respond to the “benefits” provided by imperial rule? Please provide three examples.
- What racial assumptions shaped Kipling’s attitudes about imperialism?
- Do you agree or disagree with Kipling? Why?