Comparing The White Man's Burden And The Poisonwood Bible

Decent Essays

Weighed down, overwhelmed, accountability, and responsibility. These are all aspects of having a burden, but what exactly is the burden of a white man? Labor? Money? Extreme temperatures? No, far from it actually. In the poem the White Man’s Burden, Kipling portrays the “Burden” as having to civilize the uncultured heathens of Africa. The family in The Poisonwood Bible have this particular burden. However, the family is divided on how they think about this so called “burden”. These two works of literature go together like peanut butter and jelly. They walk hand in hand to expose the downfalls of colonialism and superiority. The Poisonwood Bible has a family that is sent to the Congo to “help” the Congolese people by introducing them to the Christian faith. In The White Man’s Burden, it talks of civilizing the uncivilized or changing them. Just as the Price family is doing to the Congolese people. However the question remains. Is it the family’s job to civilize these people? Well, many believe not. …show more content…

It tells of the greatness and the pride that comes with fulfilling this task of civilizing people, but there is a sense of mock in the wording of it. Both of these works of literature express the downside of this. While reading The Poisonwood Bible the reader feels an almost awkward feeling when Nathan is angry with Anatole or when the Congolese finally stand up to Nathan. The reader gets the feeling that Nathan should back off. Even the family of Nathan feels odd in the moment while Nathan himself is like a cobra ready to strike. This is a perfect example of how the family is split over how they should do

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