Analysis of Rudyard Kipling Poem "The White Man’s Burden"

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About this sample


Words: 736 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Words: 736|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

It all started from the Spanish-American War and lead to the Philippine AmericanWar; the Philippine American War began in the year 1898 and was declared over 1902, but it has been said that it lasted longer. The U.S tried to invade the Philippines more than once. It started when President McKinley was reported to have said that “God Almighty” ordered him to make the Philippines a U.S colony and that is when Spain agreed to attack the Philippines to the new imperial power. With that said the poem “The White Man’s Burden” by Rudyard Kipling helped enhance my level of how I perceive and feel about what goes on around the world and me, at first I felt disappointed before finally finding some sense of understanding.

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In the beginning of this poem the speaker shows us that they are gathering their best men to invade the Philippines, to my disappointment. In the second line of the poem it said to “Send forth the best ye breed –“ (Kipling, 2). Knowing that they are gathering people that were the best, it was most likely they would conquer the Philippines. When I translated the quote, I had a better understanding that it meant only the bravest and strongest would go forth as colonizers and soldiers, which automatically disappointed me, because I knew that the Philippines were not going to conquer the U.S. For instance with the Pearl Harbor, they knew what they had to do to get what they wanted, just like what had happen in the Philippine American War, but when you compare the two they did not get anything out of killing people. I strongly disapprove of this poem, because of how it has started.

However in the middle of the poem the speaker becomes racists and speaks as if they are superior, to my disgust. In line 12, the speaker reminds the natives that they were going to be conquered, and not be the conquers; it annoys me to know that they feel as if they are superior when they are not. I am disgusted, because that line to me, represented racism and I am definitely not okay with that. A great example can be slavery, because Whites then made Africans believe that they were superior than them, but in this case Whites really are not above anyone, even if they felt as if they were. Overall, the middle was extremely annoying and I did not agree with most of what was being said.

Finally, at the end of “The White Man’s Burden” the speaker shows us that the invasion was done and over with, to my understanding. As we see “The lightly proffered laural,/ The easy, ungrudged praise:” (Kipling 52,54), meant the war was done, which was a relief to me, especially knowing it ended in an “ungrudged” praise. This quote of course made me feel both, sympathetic and understandable, because it was finally over, everything that wanted to be done happened, and none of them actually conquered one another; this is why this interpretation of how I felt is best. For example the Spanish American War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris between the

U.S. and Spain, and that happened to be a relief. The Spanish American War only lasted eight months, it was a global war, and was being fought physically in the Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico and Cuba. In contrast, the Philippine American War it was a conflict local to the Philippines, being fought between the U.S. and the Filipinos the war was longer, much more bloody, but was not a global conflict. The end of the poem was not terrible after all, it was understandable the way it all happened and came together.

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Overall, the poem did happen to make me feel many emotions from disappointment to being able to understand everything going on. Even though I disliked the poem it truly opened my eyes. It may have been about war, but I can use it as a daily thing in my life. Thanks to this poem, I have a better outlook on what goes around me. For instance people may hurt me, but in the end I know how strong I am and everything that was done to try to tear me down will be done and over with, and of course I will continue moving forward maintaining strong.

Works Cited

  1. Agoncillo, T. A. (1990). History of the Filipino People. Garotech Publishing.
  2. Constantino, R. (1975). The Philippines: A Past Revisited. Tala Publishing Services.
  3. Gates, H. L. (2019). Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow. Penguin Books.
  4. Halstead, M. (1898). The Story of the Philippines: Natural Riches, Industrial Resources, Statistics of Productions, Commerce and Population; The Laws, Habits, Customs, Scenery and Conditions of the Cuba of the East Indies and the Thousand Islands of the Archipelagoes of India and Hawaii. Our Possessions Publishing.
  5. Ileto, R. C. (1979). Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines, 1840-1910. Ateneo de Manila University Press.
  6. Kipling, R. (1899). The White Man's Burden. McClure's Magazine, 12(4), 321-327.
  7. Kramer, P. A. (2006). The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines. University of North Carolina Press.
  8. Linn, B. M. (2000). The Philippine War, 1899-1902. University Press of Kansas.
  9. Miller, S. M. (1984). Benevolent Assimilation: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903. Yale University Press.
  10. Trask, D. F. (1982). The War with Spain in 1898. University of Nebraska Press.
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Cite this Essay

Analysis of Rudyard Kipling Poem “The White Man’s Burden”. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 28, 2024, from
“Analysis of Rudyard Kipling Poem “The White Man’s Burden”.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
Analysis of Rudyard Kipling Poem “The White Man’s Burden”. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Feb. 2024].
Analysis of Rudyard Kipling Poem “The White Man’s Burden” [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Mar 12 [cited 2024 Feb 28]. Available from:
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