Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reading Period 23: April 7 - 13: 1984

Rudyard Kipling: Spin master?
Long Read: 

1984 by George Orwell, Part 2, chapters 8-10.

Short Read: 

"Miss Youghal's Sais" by Rudyard Kipling, pages 705-710


"If" by Rudyard Kipling
"Gunga Din" by Rudyard Kipling
"The White Man's Burden" by Rudyard Kipling

Creative Assignments:

Create an illustration for one of the following quotes. You must incorporate the words of the quote into the picture you're making -- not all the words, but some significant ones:

"In war, physical facts cannot be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an airplane, they had to make four."

"When war is continuous, it ceases to be dangerous."

"No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer."


Kipling's poem "Gunga Din" has been made into a movie. Three movie posters are below. Based on the contents of the poem and the way these movie posters look, can you take a stab at summarizing this movie? Write a 250 word summary of the plot -- what happens in this movie, do you think?

Writing Assignments: 

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, without evaluating whether he defended or critiqued it? 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?


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"? Does this remind you of anything in 1984? Can the East India Company really rewrite history with a slick web site?

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.


1. What beverage do Winston and Julia drink at O'Brien's house?
2. Who is the leader of the Brotherhood?
3. Where will Winston and O'Brien meet again?
4. Why, according to Goldstein, is it impossible for war to be decisive?
5. What then is the purpose of war, according to Goldstein?
6. What does Goldstein say the scientists of Oceania are busy doing?
7. What are the aims of the three divisions of people, according to Goldstein?
8. What made it unnecessary for people to live at different social/economic levels?
9. How does the Thought Police handle gifted proles who might aspire to be in the party?
10. What are the laws of Ingsoc?

Bonus: What does blackwhite mean? What does doublethink mean?

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