History matters

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6609/ (Links to an external site.)

Here is a better reading of the poem: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/Kipling.html (Links to an external site.)

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During the 1890’s controversy over the issue of U.S. Imperialism not only occurred in newspapers and political debate, but oddly enough, in poetry as well. The link above will take you to a very interesting site where you will find a collection of articles and poems written on the subject. There you will find a famous poem written in 1899 by Rudyard Kipling entitled “The White Man’s Burden.” You will also find two additional poems that are also quite controversial and revealing, “The Poor Man’s Burden” by George McNeill and “The Black Man’s Burden” written by H. T. Johnson Please read each poem and answer the four questions posed within the site.

1. According to Kipling, and in your own words, what was the “White Man’s Burden”?

2. What reward did Kipling suggest the “White Man” gets for carrying his “burden”?

3. Who did Kipling think would read his poem? What do you think that this audience might have said in response to it?

4. For what audiences do you think H.T. Johnson and George McNeil wrote their poems? How do you think those audiences might have responded to “The Black Man’s Burden” and “The Poor Man’s Burden”?

If you have difficulty answering the questions then explore the additional links within the site that discuss the topic further. I ordinarily would not recommend Wikipedia as a source because not all entries are accurate and citations are not always provided. But, it can be a beginning point in your research. Here is what they offer on the White Man’s Burden: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_White_Man%27s_Burden (Links to an external site.)

I would like for you to write a thoughtful, well written answer. Your response will be graded on the basis of content (how well you respond to the question) and on the quality of your response (grammar, spelling, syntax, etc.) My suggestion is for you to compose your response in a word processing format of your choosing and then “cut and paste” your response into the text box provided.

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