The White Man's Burden By Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, March 1 –
Please take out your course packs
and open up to your Heart of
Darkness section.
While you take your quiz I will
come around and check your
1. HOD Quiz (40 minutes)
2. Ota Benga – Reactions? (5)
3. HOD Unit – Assessments & Unit (5)
4. Read “The White Man’s Burden,”
“Poor Man’s Burden,” and “Black Man’s
Burden” (30)
Ota Benga
It is important to realize that this type of
behavior was not limited to other countries
but was a part of us as well.
Heart of Darkness Unit
What evil lurks in the heart
of men?
What are the causes, effects
and moral implications
of European colonialism
in the late nineteenth
When in history have we
seen greed assuaged by
human suffering? Is
greed assuaged by
human suffering ever
1st reading of HOD and reading
comprehension quiz.
2nd reading is a closer read. We will
each present a section of the book,
presenting not only the content, but
the literary elements as well. I will
present the first half of Part 1.
Literary Criticism Report
In Class Essay (50 minutes)
The Congo Free State
From Encyclopedia Britannica on the Congo Free State:
•Under Leopold II's administration, the Congo Free State was subject to a terror regime,
including atrocities such as mass killings and maimings which were used to subjugate the
indigenous tribes of the Congo region and to procure slave labor. Estimates of the death toll
range from three to twenty-two million.
•Beginning in 1900, news of the conditions in the Congo Free State began to be exposed in
European and U.S. press. By 1908 public pressure and diplomatic maneuvers led to the end
of Leopold II's rule, and to the annexation of the Congo as a colony of Belgium, known as
the Belgian Congo.
•The Congo Free State was the epitome of imperial brutality, though by no means the only
one. Leopold II was, in many people's eyes, insane, adding to the absurdity of the colonialist
This information begs the question: Is Conrad giving us the full truth,
or is he glossing over the atrocities committed in the name of
Read “White Man’s Burden” by Ruyard Kipling, “The
Poor Man’s Burden” by George McNeill, and “The Black
Man’s Burden” by H.T. Johnson
1. Read all three
poems twice so
that you are
familiar with
the content.
2. Then answer
the following
What is “white man’s burden”?
What is “poor man’s burden”?
What is “black man’s burden”?
What is it today’s reader finds
so repugnant about Kipling’s
If you were a citizen of a
colonized territory, how would
you respond to Kipling?
A straightforward analysis of the poem may conclude that
Kipling presents a Eurocentric view of the world, in which nonEuropean cultures are seen as childlike and demonic. This view
proposes that white people consequently have an obligation to
rule over, and encourage the cultural development of, people
from other ethnic and cultural backgrounds until they can take
their place in the world by fully adopting Western ways. The
term "the white man's burden" can be interpreted simply as
racist, or taken as a metaphor for a condescending view of nonWestern national culture and economic traditions, identified as
a sense of European ascendancy which has been called "cultural
imperialism". A parallel can also be drawn with the philanthropic
view, common in Kipling's formative years, that the rich have a
moral duty and obligation to help the poor "better" themselves
whether the poor want the help or not.
Within a historical context, the poem makes clear the
prevalent attitudes that allowed colonialism to proceed.
Although a belief in the "virtues of empire" was wide-spread at
the time, there were also many dissenters; the publication of
the poem caused a flurry of arguments from both sides, most
notably from Mark Twain and Henry James. Much of Kipling's
other writing does suggest that he genuinely believed in the
"beneficent role" which the introduction of Western ideas
could play in lifting non-Western peoples out of "poverty and
ignorance." Lines 3-5, and other parts of the poem suggest
that it is not just the native people who are enslaved, but also
the "functionaries of empire," who are caught in colonial
service. This theme may also be contrasted with the Christian
missionary movement, which was also quite active at the time in
Africa, India, and other British and European colonies (e.g. the
Christian and Missionary Alliance).
Some commentators point to Kipling's
history of satirical writing, and
suggest that "The White Man's
Burden" is in fact meant to satirically
undermine imperialism.
Write a Found Poem
Start rereading Part 1 of HOD.
Vocabulary Quiz 4 (loose sentences)