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My Boy Jack By Rudyard Kipling

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KJ Ibasco

on 4 June 2013

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Transcript of My Boy Jack By Rudyard Kipling

Biography •Born on December 30, 1865 in Bombay India but educated in England at the United Services College, Westward Ho, Biddeford.

•His Literary career began Departmental Ditties(first book of poems) in 1886 but eventually became known as a writer of short stories. His prolific writing gained fame quickly.

•The British soldiers in India were the greatest influences on his poetic works.

•One example of the poems influence by this was the poem “Barrack Room Ballads” written about the common soldiers.

•Another example is the poem “My Boy Jack” which he wrote after his beloved son, John (called Jack) went missing in the battle of Loos during World War I.

•His best works of poem are the following: Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), The White’s Man’s Burden (1899) and If (1910).

•Various writers, most notably Edmund Candler, were strongly influenced by Kipling’s writing.

•The high quality of his writing had him nominated for the British Poet Laureateship and knighthood but he rejected such honors.

•In the year of 1907 however, he accepted the Noble Peace Prize of Literature. He became the first English writer and youngest recipient to have received the award till this day.

•He kept writing until the early 1930’s, but his production slowed.

•He died of ulcer on January 1936 at the age of 70, two days before the death of George V.

•More than 50 unpublished poems by Kipling were released for the first time in March 2013.
My Boy Jack
1914 - 1918
“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has anyone else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

Summary In Depth Analysis Theme

Courage, Perseverance and Sacrifice

Many of Kipling's poems present a situation of impossible odds or situations where the courage, perseverance and sacrifice of men are tested beyond their capacity to endure. The men in these situations possess great courage and perseverance even though their fate looks dire. In the poem "My Boy Jack", Kipling may have felt guilty about pushing his son to fight, but he still felt intense patriotism and civic duty. He knew that young men did have to die for their country and still believed the British military to be the glory of the age.
Rudyard Kipling My Boy Jack "My Boy Jack" is told from the perspective of a mourning parent (Rudyard Kipling), asking for news of his only son (John Kipling) who is away at war. An answering voice tells the questioner that there is no news at this time, and that he or she should be proud of the son they bore who has sacrificed himself to the wind and the tide. This poem was written by Kipling to commemorate his son John, who died during WWI. He was killed in action in France at the Battle of Loos after being there for only three weeks. Unfortunately, he was on the "missing believed wounded" list for two years. This was a devastating blow to Kipling and his wife, who had lost their daughter Josephine in 1899 to pneumonia.
Kipling felt terrible about his son's death because he had encouraged him continuously to enter the military. John wanted to join the Royal Navy but was refused due to poor eyesight, but Kipling used his own connections to get John in. Kipling's guilt can be glimpsed in his words published after his son's death: "If any question why we died / Tell them, because our fathers lied".
In the poem “My Boy Jack”, one voice continues to ask for news of their son while another voice, presented in italics, offers scant hope. The second voice uses the image of the receding tide and the blowing wind to create a sense of absence, as in the absence of the son who went away to war. This poem evokes the loss felt by parents who lose their children to war. WWI was a particularly brutal war, and this sad, simple poem summarizes the loss in a very effective fashion.
The end of the poem offers up some care meant to ease the sadness felt by mothers and fathers who lost their child: "Then hold your head up all the more, / This tide / And every tide; / Because he was the son you bore, / And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!"
Kipling uses the word tide in every stanza. This has different meanings. Firstly it could literally mean the tide of a sea and how no ships have been able to sail due to the tide. It could also mean a tide of news. News coming back and forth across the channel, so no news of jack had come in that lot of news.
Quote Analysis
Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!
In this poem, Kipling is trying to reconcile his grief over losing his son John in the war and his belief that military service was honorable, right, and necessary. There is a dialogue taking place between a parent wondering if there has been news of their child and a person answering who explains that there is nothing to assuage the parent’s anxiety and despair. At the end of the poem, these lines encourage the parent to reflect upon the valuable sacrifice made through allowing their son to be given up to the war effort and that the young soldier will live on in memory, and will be valued for his contribution to the noble efforts of the British empire. The poem’s sadness of subject and tone along with its comforting message shows Kipling’s complex view on the matter of war.
Rhyme Scheme
•This tide (lines, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15)
•Think that (line 3)
•That tide (line 13 and 18)

•“'Have you news of my boy Jack?'” (Line 1)
•“Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.” (Line 4)
•“Except he did not shame his kind-“ (Line 12)
•“Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide” (Line 13)
•“Then hold your head up all the more,” (Line 14)
•“Because he was the son you bore,” (Line 17)

•“Not this tide.” (Line 2) was repeated again in Line 6
•“Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.” (Line 4) was repeated again in Line 8

Style and Tone


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