Your questions on “The Man Who Would Be King”

Although we’re moving on to “A Scandal in Bohemia” on Tuesday, we’ll spend some time addressing your unanswered questions on “The Man Who Would Be King” (from the bonus questions on the quiz).  Some of the questions were similar and have been combined. We discussed some of the bonus questions in class.

  1. What was the purpose/importance of the “contrack” on p. 70 between Peachey and Daniel?
  2. My question is what got into the main characters that made them want to go to India & be kings?  What are their motives besides wanting royalty?
  3. I’d like to talk about the theme of kings falling and dying in perfect normalcy.  We see this maintained in the narrator’s work as a newsman (p. 73).
    1. I would like to comment on the hierarchy that is brought up, especially with “king” being in the title. It was interesting that it was a huge theme right away.
  4. “I won’t make a nation, says he . . . ” They’re the Lost Tribes or something like it, and they’ve grown to be English.” Commentary on assimilation of the Indian people?
    1. I would like to address the people of Kafiristan.  They have the appearance of Europeans with white skin and yellow hair, yet they live “above” Afghanistan in a country whose name sounds Middle Eastern (p. 74).  Dravot and Carnehan treat them differently because of this.  Yet they have many customs and traits that make them sound the complete opposite of English.  What is Kipling trying to accomplish?
  5. What are “native states” (p. 67) & can you explain why this is important and what we are being explained?
    1. What do they mean by “wire on tick” (p. 66)?
  6. I don’t really have much of a question. I’d just like to do a close reading on “The Man Who Would Be King.” A closer reading, I guess.
  7. I would like to talk about the British Imperialist views of India (p. 67)
    1. What was Kipling trying to say about conquering of nations?  Is he making an allusion to “Westerners” seeing ourselves as Gods establishing a dynasty?
    2. How do these narratives normalize colonialism?  Or do they challenge them?
  8. How can we interpret “The Man Who Would Be King” (66) given the context where Kipling also wrote a fostered racist ideology in “The White Man’s Burden” (25)?
    1. Why would a racist author write a book about ethnic people?
  9. P. 68 why did the narrator never reveal his actual name?
  10. Why was it so important that they stay away from women? Do women represent anything?
    1. Racism is evident in Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King” by the narrator who is a loafer, but the other two loafers wanting to be king put into their contract not to have sex with a white, brown, or black woman. Does this mean sex doesn’t mean racism is prevalent like in the train cars or how does racial prejudice among the poor whites?
  11. I want to comment or question on whether or not there is a significance of how Dravot or Carnehan were killed (or tried to be killed) p. 82. I found the crucifixion between the two trees interesting and want to discuss it. Or maybe touch on why Dravot was wearing a crown as he was killed.
    1. I know that Carnehan wanted to prove his story by providing Dravot’s head as evidence, but why his head?  Is it because he’s crazy from everything he’s been through or was he just finding something dramatic & over the top to show the narrator?
  12. I would like to discuss more in depth about the character of Peachey (p. 78).
    1. How can we relate the madness Peachey went through compared to that of others we’ve seen so far?
    2. I am confused about the beginning of the story. It says “brother to a prince” and makes a claim that he should be a king.  Is he of any royalty at all?

Reports and Papers 3 & 4

The report schedule is under Reports and also here:  If you talked to me about doing a report but don’t see your name,  EMAIL ME at

Also, if you’re listed as presenting on an Open Topic, email me with the topic you’ve chosen or stop by to discuss possible topics with me.

I’ll be handing out Paper 3 topics on Thursday and Paper 4 topics next Tuesday, but if you would like to see them earlier, the assignments themselves are already online, cleverly hidden under the  Assignments tab.  One thing to keep in mind: Paper 4 can be a collaborative project, or you also have the option to extend and revise one of your previous papers as part of Paper 4.

Next week; midterm grades; Blog Post Points

Next Tuesday we’ll finish the presentations on 19th-century cultural contexts.

Midterm exams were handed back last Tuesday, and the exam grades are posted in Angel.  The WSU midterm grades turned in on Wednesday were those that are posted as your current average in Angel.

Some of you have had questions about your blog post points.  You can check for the points by going to  Important: Pay attention to the instructions at the bottom.  If you see a 0 for either the post or the response, and you know that your group posted by the deadline, email me the link so that I can correct the record.

Paper 2 due; Laptop Day

unclesamdinnerPaper 2 is due tomorrow either in class (paper version) or via Angel by 9 p.m.

We’ll discuss the readings for tomorrow but will spend at least 35 minutes on the Laptop Day cultural contexts exercise.  Some links will be provided, but you’re encouraged to find your own. Here’s a sample of the topics your group can choose from:

Here is the Finding Historical Sources webpage and links:

  • Native Americans
  • Immigration
  • Imperialism
  • African Americans
  • Political campaigns
  • Wealth
  • Asian Americans
  • Food
  • Irish and/or Catholics
  • Cakewalk and minstrel shows (discussed briefly in class)
  • Aetheticism
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Mark Twain
  • Women’s rights (woman suffrage), women in the workplace, etc.
  • Civil War
  • Technology: what new technologies were causing excitement (like the telephone)?
  • Amusements: sports, jokes, leisure-time activities
  • Advertisements: what were popular “must-have” products that we no longer have (or that we do have)?
  • Popular music: what kinds of music were popular? What was the subject matter?
  • Education
  • Housekeeping and child care
  • Shopping and fashion
  • Medicine: what were the breakthroughs in medical treatments?
  • New advances in scientific knowledge
  • Industrialism or the rise of corporations
  • Popular books that everyone was reading (like George du Maurier’s Trilby in 1895)Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 10.55.24 AM
  • These Images are from Punch and Harper’s Weekly, two of the periodicals you might choose to look at tomorrow.