What are some examples of the specific difficulties Kipling faces in taking up "The White Man's Burden"?

Some examples of the specific difficulties Kipling's speaker say the imperialists will face in taking up "the white man's burden" include hard work helping childlike and hostile natives who won't appreciate the white people's efforts on their behalf. The whites will have to face hate, laziness, foolishness, and problems such as the natives's hunger and disease.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The White Man's Burden" Kipling presents the colonial project as being a burden, albeit a burden that the white man is duty-bound to pursue. In his eyes, the white race has been charged with the responsibility of bringing the benefits of its civilization to the poor, benighted races of the far-flung corners of the globe. This civilizing mission is essential if these "new-caught sullen peoples" are to be able to come up to the same cultural standards as the white man.

But the business of colonial administration won't be plain sailing, in Kipling's opinion; many problems lie ahead, of which Kipling's American audience will need to be aware. For one thing, the natives of the newly-conquered Philippines will be ungrateful towards their new masters. Kipling warns that they will feel resentment at being civilized. Once the white man takes up his "burden" he needs to be aware that he will incur the blame of those he "betters".

An additional problem the white colonialist has to face is the...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1011 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on