|"First I will take my pay."|
While I enjoyed this chapter perhaps more than much of the rest of the book to this point, there's not really a lot to discuss or question. One thing, however, that caught my eye here as well as previously, and which also connects to something I learned prior to beginning the reading of the novel, is the issue of Kipling's racism. While decidedly racist (and how could one supporting imperialism not be, really?), his bigotry appears to toe a line. In this chapter we see the distasteful word, "nigger," repeatedly, but Kipling's use thereof is about as favorable as that of Twain's--that is an indicator of ignorance, stupidity, or simply [the stultifying, as opposed to Kipling's subtler and entirely non-self-conscious, brand of] racism and superstition on the part of the one uttering it. Kipling appears here to recognize a line dividing acceptable and unacceptable "levels" of racism. Thoughts? In support of this, there is the issue of Kipling's use of the swastika as an accompaniment to his signature and emblem appearing in early editions of his books. Despite the immensely negative connotations of the swastika, it's originally/etymologically intended use is markedly innocuous. The word itself is Sanskrit for "auspicious object" (and I prefer Princeton's definition of "auspicious" simply for its simplistic elegance). In other words, a swastika is pretty much a good-luck charm. Yet, according to Wikipedia and its pertinent article's sources, Kipling tossed aside the symbol as soon as there was even the slightest possibility that it might associate him with the Nazi movement, which, of course, was founded nearly entirely upon racism, bigotry, and supposed biological superiority. But isn't this essentially what an imperialist movement is also built on? --that one race (or government/religion) is exactly what makes the moving country better than / superior to the one it's invading and conquering? Kipling supported imperialism. Where did his racism lie?