Joseph Rudyard Kipling And His Works

1552 words - 7 pages

Rudyard Kipling
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” –Rudyard Kipling. Rudyard Kipling was born on December 30, 1865 at Bombay, India. Kipling spent the first six years of his idyllic life in India until his family moved back to England in 1871. After six months of living in England his parents abandoned him and his three year old sister, leaving them with the Holloway family, which in turn mistreated him physically and psychologically, this left him with a sense of betrayal and scars mentally, but it was then Kipling started to grow a love for literature. Between 1878 and 1882 he attended the United Services College at Westward Ho in north Devon. The College was a new and very rough boarding school where, nearsighted and physically frail, he was once again teased and bullied, but where, nevertheless, he developed fierce loyalties. In 1882 Kipling returned to India, where he spent the next seven years working in various capacities as a journalist and editor. Kipling also started writing about India itself and the Anglo-Indian society, This is where Kipling's admiration began to one day be a part of the British military. By 1890 Kipling returned to England and was a well know poet as well as an author. Kipling was the highest paid poet of his time by the age of 32. Rudyard Kipling’s incredible support for the British war effort caused his poems, such as Boots, The Last of the Light Brigade, and Tommy, to convey the theme that soldiers are rarely seen as heroes until freedom is at stake.
“I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,/The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here"(1-2). “Tommy” is one of Kipling's most popular poems; it is included in barrack room ballads and other verses. “Tommy” was also a popular poem during its own era because of the use of slang and the way soldiers were written about. Kipling wrote “tommy” to show the disrespect people had for the British soldier. Kipling said “However, when it comes time for fighting, they are full of ‘tommy this’ and ‘tommy that.’’’ Kipling was sick of how soldiers were treated and wanted to change this. Kipling tries to explain how tommy is not a hero, but rather a normal man no different than us. “We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,/ But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you”(25-26). All of this changed, however, when the country went to war. Tommy is then celebrated and thanked. People are concerned with his wellbeing and his soul, and reward him and his fellow soldiers a “Thin red line of heroes” and the “Saviour of the country”. Kipling also references Tommy is all to aware of the hypocrisy which complicates his life. Kipling does an excellent job of defending the young soldiers who took up the noble task of defending their country and arguing for their humanity even while acknowledging their courage and fighting prowess. The name “Tommy” does not refer to a specific individual, but the...

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