Honor and Duty
Rudyard Kipling, one of England’s heroic poets, worked as a journalist in Punjab, India, which was under British control. He wrote many poems and songs that rhymed and helped boost the morale of British soldiers on the battlefield while implementing them with values of honor and duty. In addition to the soldiers, the citizens of England were also inspired to support the war efforts. The poems became very effective among the British people.
Three of Kipling’s poems, Young British Soldier, Tommy and Gunga Din were all components to a volume of poems entitled the Barack-Room Ballads. They were written in a Cockney dialect to gain support for the British military during the World Wars from the larger population of lower class people. They were used to convince the public that if they did not financially support the war efforts, they would be dishonorable. The duty of the people was to show support for the fighting. It was the only way they could show their loyalty to the cause and their country, and contribute to it.
Kipling’s poems, in a way, were propaganda and the intent of the messages to the people were received. It convinced many to be eager to do their honor and duty to help the war effort by donating money and young men to join the army. Cash flow increased and soon the British ranks were filled with fresh soldiers from all classes.
In addition to the effects on the citizens, the poems were also used to increase the feeling of honor and duty among the soldiers serving in the military. They became classic military fighting slogans that inspired courage and persistence through some of their harsh conditions.
In Tommy, it was spoken about the poor treatment received when they entered local pubs or walked along the streets. The soldier of Kipling’s time defended the British Empire but was also picked at because of his low birth in the class system. A large portion of the soldiers who entered the military were just commoners.
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