The White Man’s Burden

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01.05H Theme Comparison Chart and Response Questions

Complete this portion of the chart with evidence from “The White Man’s Burden.”




“The White Man’s Burden”

Why is this in the poem?

What is the message about the British Empire?

Description of characters/speakers represented in the poem: Rudyard Kipling is the author and the one speaking. He is talking about the poor treatment of soldiers.

It shows his personal beliefs on the British Empire.

His views on British imperialism.

Plot/Topic of Each Stanza:

Stanza 1: send the best men abroad and your sons into exile to serve your captives. These "newly-caught" people are wild, angry, and both devilish and childish.

Stanza 2: to temper your terror and hold back your pride, to use simple and frank words, and to gain profit by others.
Stanza 3: You are to fill mouths with food and end famine and get rid of sickness and disease. However, you must be careful to avoid, as your goal draws near, falling into sloth and folly and watching your hopes dissolve.
Stanza 4: not the work of Kings but of common men, toiling like serfs. You will mark ports and roads with both your living and your dead.

Stanza 5: being blamed by those you protect and being hated by those you guard. The hosts will call out, asking why you brought them out of bondage toward the light.

Stanza 6: He warns you not to use Freedom as a cloak for weariness because everything you do or say will be watched and weighed by the "silent, sullen peoples" you are endeavoring to help.
Stanza 7: You must ignore light, unwarranted praise and seek the manhood that comes from many "thankless years" and "dear-bought wisdom".

  1. It shows how British is invading other lands.

  2. They must be frank so they can earn the profits from these people.

  3. They are to help the other people from the country they invaded.

  4. The British are making the men work as peasants not as royalty

  1. The men who control you will blame you for things that didn’t happen and the people you are trying to help will hate you for making them slaves.

  2. You will have freedom but your freedom will be constricted by rules you must follow.

  3. You must look at the big picture.

It shows how the British empire is helping other countries grow so they can earn all the profits.

It shows how the British empire is helping other countries grow so they can earn all the profits.

Theme: Based on the evidence in this chart for “The White Man’s Burden,” what is the author’s message about the British Empire?
They are trying to justify imperialism as a noble enterprise.

Complete this portion of the chart with evidence from The Man Who Would Be King.




What happens in the text?

Why is this in the story?

What is the message about the British Empire?

Character Action:

Dravot and Carnehan make a contract with one another to become kings of Kafiristan.

Additional Character Action:

Dravot says he will make an empire.

Additional Character Action:

Carnehan is upset because Dravot is acting like he is the only king.

Their contract is important because it sets the story in motion. It shows the business-like approach the two men have toward their goal of being kings.

It shows how Dravot is going to rule over the empire. It foreshadows his down fall.

This foreshadows how the 2 men will become upset with eachother and something will happen.

The contract shows that the two characters are attempting to mimic the formal operations of the Empire.
The British empire always wants to rule other lands.

In the British empire there is only one ruler and that is what Dravot is trying to do.

Character Statement:

Carnehan says, “We have been boiler-fitters, engine-drivers, petty contractors, and all that, and we have decided that India isn’t big enough for such as us.”

Additional Character Statement: “‘I won’t make a Nation,’ says he. ‘I’ll make an Empire! These men aren’t niggers; they’re English! Look at their eyes— look at their mouths. Look at the way they stand up. They sit on chairs in their own houses. They’re the Lost Tribes, or something like it, and they’ve grown to be English.

Additional Character Statement: “‘Go to your blasted priests, then!’ I said,

and I was sorry when I made that remark, but it did hurt me sore to find Daniel talking so superior when I’d drilled all the men, and done all he told me.

This quote provides a back-story for the two characters.

This quote is how Dravot thinks he is the only king.

This shows that Carnehan has been upset with Dravot. He is upset that Dravot would talk to him so superior.

This quote shows how the two characters attempted to work within the limitations of the Empire and how they were dissatisfied with the outcomes.

This shows that Dravot has taken control and think he is the only king of the country and how his power has caused him to forget all about his best friend who is king as well.

This shows how when a ruler becomes to powerful someone will try to over throw them. It foreshadows the downfall of Dravot because he has become to powerful.

Theme: Based on the evidence in this chart for The Man Who Would Be King, what is the author’s message about the British Empire?
The theme is that ambition unchecked can lead to corruption.

Response Questions

Use textual support from your reading of pages 25-37 to answer the questions below in complete sentences.

1. Describe the change in Dravot and Carnehan’s relationship from the beginning to the end of the story. What is the catalyst for the change and what is the result? Use evidence from the text to support your response.

They were best friends at the beginning of the story. They wanted to come to India and rule a country and become Kings together like Englishmen should do. The catalyst was when Dravot became corrupt. He strayed from the pact they friends made and wanted a women which essentially caused the downfall of their empire.

2. How do the narrator, Dravot, and Peachy each represent an aspect of the British Empire? Use evidence from the text to support your response.

Peachy represents the good of the British Empire. Always wanted to be good and follow the rules and help people. Dravot shows the bad side by how he wanted to rule the empire by himself and caused the downfall because he did not follow the rules.

In 8-10 sentences, answer the questions below based on your reading of The Man Who Would Be King and study of the British Empire.

3. How is Dravot and Carnehan’s adventure representative of the British Empire? Discuss at least three specific parallels using support from the text.

The British Empire was very powerful and ruled the many countries. They were a very powerful nation. The rascally vagabonds Peachey Carnehan and Daniel Dravot epitomize the adventurers who built the British Empire in its early years, while their hubris captures the folly of the Empire’s paternalistic attitudes. They became to powerful and eventually the Empire fell.

4. Was Kipling using his novella, The Man Who Would Be King, as support of the concept of “noblesse oblige?” Discuss specific evidence from the text, Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden,” and the context of Kipling’s life.

Yes this story was to tell a story about the Noblesse Oblige. It tells a story about 2 men who came to a less fortunate country to rule them because they thought they were superior. For a time, all is well in the Empire of Daniel and Peachey. Peachey leads the army while Daniel dispenses justice, much more fairly than the people were accustomed to seeing. Daniel, convinced that he has found his destiny, determines to marry and start a hereditary monarchy. Peachey reminds him of their contract, and warns him that, after all, they are still among savages, and that he should not give in to overconfidence. Daniel will hear nothing of such caution, however, and chooses a bride for himself among the young women of his new capital. The girl is terrified, believing that any woman who sleeps with a god will be consumed by fire as a result of the intimate contact. This makes it easy for the local priests, who had seen their power diminished by the coming of Daniel and Peachey, to convince her to test her new husband’s claim to deity. At the wedding ceremony, as they are about to kiss, she bites him instead. The bite draws blood, proving that Daniel is not a god after all. The villagers rise up against him, finally throwing him off a rope bridge into a deep ravine, where his body is shattered on the rocks. Peachey is captured and crucified; when he doesn’t die, the incredulous villagers release him. This is how they support the noblesse oblige.

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