The Critical Conversation Surrounding Kipling 's Novel, The Prophet Of British Imperialism, By George Orwell

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Nostalgia cannot be the sole modality for understanding the past and the self, yet neither can history. The two disparate parts must be brought together in order to understand the influences which, to a degree, create and shape a person. The critical conversation surrounding Kipling’s works tends to reduce their complexities to the single theme of imperialism. In doing so, the manifestation of his personhood is overlooked and ignored, creating an incomplete picture of Kipling and his beliefs. Though an advocate for imperialism and regarded by George Orwell as “the prophet of British Imperialism,” Kipling is unwillingly implicated within its rigid constructs (118). There is a unique complexity to Kipling’s works that stems from a psychological trauma. Kipling associated India with a fanciful childhood heightened through his expatriation at six years old. In turn, as Wurgraft highlights, spatiality proves to be incredibly important for analyzing Kipling’s works; when he writes of and within India his tone significantly shifts from a harsh imperialist to a sympathetic, almost childlike, idealist (103-4). Therefore, while Kipling vocally advocates for imperialism, he does not do so at the expense of India and its inhabitants. This is a result of his affinity towards India in relations to his childhood, a result which manifests in his spatially Indian short stories. Of these short stories, “Without Benefit of Clergy” most acutely depicts his fanciful nostalgia to return to an

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