In the modern world history, Western countries have mastered a vast part of the world. And this kind of control, based on domination and subordination, aroused mainly from colonialism and imperialism like the power of the British Empire over many colonized countries in the world. Thus, this imperial power had intensively engaged writers’ attention. Among those major writers is Rudyard Kipling. He is a British novelist and poet who was born in British India in 1865 and died in 1963. Though he lived over thirteen years there, the reader finds that his works espouse the imperial ideology and he came to be recognized as a "prophet of the British imperialism"(Orwell 116). And this is well manifested in his poem "The White Man's Burden" published in 1899. It ideologically justifies the process of colonization and empire naming it a "burden". It urges the colonial power to take up the burden of colonialism representing the West as the superior whose responsibility is to civilize the backward colonized nations. Thus, in analyzing the issue of representation of colonized people in the poem from Edward Said’s perspective, one can find out that it is just a misrepresentation. And through Kipling’s accusation of camouflaging the atrocity of the imperial vision by this misrepresentation, it is clear that the real reason behind this unrealistic image is empowering the cultural hegemony of the colonizer.
1- The analysis
2.1- Defining Edward Said’s notion of representation.
People can be able to understand the complex world in which we live through language and representation. The term representation has a range of interpretations. According to the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, representation, etymologically, can be seen as constructing and representing the object in a new form of picture rather than by depicting it as it is in its reality (172). And no one of these representations is objective because it’s impossible to disconnect them from the society and culture that produces them, and wants to control and change these represented objects to promote a certain set of values and ideologies (172). Thus, the term representation can’t have an exact definitive interpretation because there’s always a gap between the intention or what is original, and the realization or what is a copy. Within these representations, it is usually dissimilarity that signifies by creating binary oppositions within which one part is always dominating. And this act of representing the other is a long-standing practice of domination within the context of colonization. The most influential scholar examining the process of representing or constructing the other is Edward Said (1935-2003). Said’s book Orientalism explains how the West, through a discourse executed by Western intellectuals, produced the Orient politically, militarily, ideologically, and imaginatively. He unveils the Western intellectuals’ biased way of thought, since the Orient that appears in their texts is but a system of representation framed by essential ideas, assumptions, and stereotypes. This construction of the Orient as the other, in an uninterrupted way over many centuries, became the rationale that legitimates colonial oppression and served to reinforce the identity of the Western culture. Although Said’s argument has been challenged, his work is still the leading voice that drives scholars to critically analyze the stereotypical representations established between the colonizer and the colonized. 2.2- Analyzing Kipling’s Representation of the Colonized People in the Poem and his Notion of The White Man’s Burden.
As an imperialist writer, Rudyard Kipling in his poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’ makes the representation of the imperial supremacy. He stresses the Eurocentric view of the world in which non-European nations are seen as uncivilized and in a strong need of the White Man to save them from their...