The White Man’s Burden

Author: It was written by Rudyard Kipling, a British imperialist.  He grew up in British India, thus he was able to experience imperialization first hand.

Context:  It was written in 1899 shortly after the United States too control of the Philippines.  During this time, many European nations were crambling to colonize as many territories to expand their markets.  The idea of the “White Man’s Burden” was a popular idea at the time and was sometimes used to justify a nation’s intercontinental expansion.

Language:  Kipling’s poem is written in the vernacular, full of contractions and slang terms. Being a poem, it also has a rhyme scheme.

Audience:  The poem was originally published in a magazine, thus Kipling’s intended audience was anyone who read the magazine.  This would most likely consists of all different types of classes.

Intent: Kipling is intending to spread word about the “White Man’s Burden”, whether it is a positive or negative one is up to the reader to decide.

Message: Kipling’s poem has two differing interpretations.  The poem’s message can be taken at face value, that the “White Man’s Burden” is a positive thing; however, one can also interpret it as a negative piece, as a form of satire on the ideology.