Monday, March 17, 2014

Reading Period 27: March 19-25: Rudyard Kipling


READING:

Textbook, pages 705-710
"Rikki Tikki Tavi", a short story found online here.
Chapter 1 of Captains Courageous, found online here.
"If", a poem found online here.

ASSIGNMENTS:

Choose two of these connections: art, history, and writing. And don't forget to fill out your "First Chapter Challenge" form for the first chapter of Captains Courageous.

Art:

Create a bestiary for the short story "Rikki Tikki Tavi" where you include illustrations and a few brief facts for each animal represented in the tale.

History: 

In our textbook are the following lines: "Afterward, [Kipling] was criticized as a defender of British Imperialism.  Such criticism has to be taken seriously and should enter into our evaluation of Kipling as a master storyteller." To understand why Kipling is characterized as defending British imperialism with his stories, we must first understand the British empire in India.

Use these three articles to inform you:

A collection of primary sources related to British rule in India from the National Archive of the UK. (Make sure you also click on and read the "Background" to this collection.)
"The Benefits of British Rule" by Dadabhai Naoroji (1871)
"British Atrocities Against Indians" by  Adnan Karsewak (2010)

Write 250 words addressing these questions: What does it mean that Kipling's defense of the British Empire in India has to "enter our evaluation" of him? Should we not read Kipling because he documented the British rule in India? How does your modern perspective on the atrocities of the British or the long term benefits of British occupation affect your reading of Kipling? Does it prejudice you against him or make you think of him more favorably?

Writing:

The East India Company was responsible for the first incursion of Britain into India. They were not only a trading company, but fought wars, built factories, minted their own money, and eventually conquered local rulers. They illegally traded opium to China, allowed locals to starve while exporting grain to Europe -- oh, and they were the people whose tea the Americans threw into Boston Harbor, because they were exempt from taxes that colonial merchants had to pay. They paved the way for India to become an actual part of the British Empire, and for Victoria to be crowned Empress of India, thereby foregoing the need to "trade" and allowing Britain to just take what they needed. The East India Company is a symbol of imperialism and exploitation. AND YET, it still exists and operates in England, selling tea and exotic foods.

The modern East India Company web site is a brilliant example of "spin," a rhetorical method in which writers take inconvenient realities and twist them into positives (or negatives) for their organization. Read more about spin here. Then find three examples of "spin" on the East India Company web site. Specifically, take a look at "Our Heritage," "Gunpowder and Health," and the movie in "Historical Views." Or maybe you find that this web site is accurately representing the history of the East India Company, and they have nothing to cover up or "spin"?

Write a 250 word letter to the East India Company either criticizing their use of a name that is historically connected with exploitation and suffering, or commending them for owning their history and creating something positive for the future.

QUIZ:

The quiz is over the short story "Miss Youghal's Sais" in your textbook.

1. Why was Strickland trying to blend in with the Indian people?
2. List three words Kipling uses to refer to the Indians on the first page.
3. Why did the Youghals not want Strickland to marry their daughter?
4. Who was the sais who approached the narrator with Strickland's request for cigarettes?
5. What does the line mean, on page 709 in the first column, "That book will be worth buying; and even more worth suppressing."
6. Why was it impossible for Strickland to keep pretending to be Dulloo when the general rode out with Miss Youghal?
7. What was the general's reaction when he heard of the young lovers' predicament?
8. How was Strickland received by the Youghals once he put on his English clothes again?
9. What new behavior did Strickland agree to, before the marriage could happen?
10. Do you think there is sarcasm in the phrase "But he fills out his departmental returns beautifully"?


MEMORY CHALLENGE: 

Memorize the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. You can find it here.

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