Read It: The Man Who Would Be King

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The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling

“The law, as quoted, lays down a fair conduct of life, and one not easy to follow”

Happy-go-lucky Englishmen Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan travels to Karifistan to make a name for themselves and be kings of the land . While on their journey, they end up taking over and ruling the native tribes by making the people believe that they were gods. Things go on smoothly until the natives begin to doubt the kings and their godliness.

  1. I like the wit on how the story was told; The drunk Carnehan telling the story in his viewpoint was interesting. He proved good in relating his and Dravot’s adventures in claiming Karifistan for their own. Some parts of his narration were funny but there are times I had difficulty deciphering what he was going on about and had to reread the paragraph for better understanding.
  2. The short novella is a satirical work relating to British imperialism and colonialism specifically in Middle-Eastern countries. There is a slight parallelism in Dravot and Carnehan’s adventures into taking over the tribes in Karifistan with actual events in colonized countries – more ‘superior’ countries going on missions and taking over native uncivilized countries they discover through colonization; and eventual downfall when the natives begin to realize that they are being taken over and oppressed by the foreign which drives the natives to put things in order by opposing the colonizers.
  3. There are racist remarks in the book but I think you just don’t have to take it out of context.
  4. Though the story ended in the Englishmen’s downfall, I actually liked it and found it poetic.
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About Elaine

interior designer | occasional bookworm | closet otaku | music lover | frustrated craftsman | lazy artist | part time bum
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