'We and They' by Rudyard Kipling

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Father and Mother, and Me,
Sister and Auntie say
All the people like us are We,
And every one else is They.
And They live over the sea,
While We live over the way,
But-would you believe it? --They look upon We
As only a sort of They!

We eat pork and beef
With cow-horn-handled knives.
They who gobble Their rice off a leaf,
Are horrified out of Their lives;
While they who live up a tree,
And feast on grubs and clay,
(Isn't it scandalous? ) look upon We
As a simply disgusting They!

We shoot birds with a gun.
They stick lions with spears.
Their full-dress is un-.
We dress up to Our ears.
They like Their friends for tea.
We like Our friends to stay;
And, after all that, They look upon We
As an utterly ignorant They!

We eat kitcheny food.
We have doors that latch.
They drink milk or blood,
Under an open thatch.
We have Doctors to fee.
They have Wizards to pay.
And (impudent heathen!) They look upon We
As a quite impossible They!

All good people agree,
And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
As only a sort of They!

Editor 1 Interpretation

"We and They" by Rudyard Kipling: A Pensive Meditation on Socio-Cultural Differences

"WE and THEY" by Rudyard Kipling is a poem that speaks volumes about the socio-cultural divide that has always existed among people across different societies. It is a timeless piece of literature that is still relevant today, as we continue to grapple with issues of class, race, ethnicity, and other forms of social divisions.

At the heart of the poem is the dichotomy between "We" and "They." The poem is structured in such a way that it presents a clear distinction between these two groups of people, highlighting the differences that exist between them. The poem begins by describing the "We," which refers to a group of people who are identified by their commonalities.

"We are plain folk," the poem declares, "and they are know-alls." This line sets the tone for the rest of the poem. It suggests that the "We" are simple people who do not pretend to know everything, while the "They" are people who believe they know everything.

The poem goes on to describe the physical differences that exist between the "We" and "They." The "We" are described as "brown and small and plain," while the "They" are said to be "tall and pale and slender." This description suggests that the "We" are people who are of a different race or ethnicity from the "They." It also points to the fact that the "They" are people who are considered to be more attractive than the "We."

But the poem does not stop there. It goes on to highlight the cultural differences that exist between the "We" and "They." The "We" are said to be people who "live in little houses/ And have so much to do," while the "They" are people who "live in great houses/ And tell us what to do." This line suggests that the "We" are people who are busy with their own lives, while the "They" are people who have the luxury of telling others what to do.

The poem also touches on the issue of language. The "We" are said to speak "in little voices," while the "They" are said to speak "in voices big and strong." This line suggests that the "We" are people who are not confident in their own abilities, while the "They" are people who are confident and assertive.

Overall, "We and They" is a poem that draws attention to the deep-seated socio-cultural differences that exist between people. It highlights the fact that these differences are not just physical but also cultural and linguistic.

But what makes this poem so powerful is the way it transcends these differences. Despite the clear distinction between "We" and "They," the poem ends on a note of unity. "But we know we and they must join/ And some day it will be/ When they and we shall equal be/ As good and wise and free," the poem declares.

This ending suggests that while there may be differences between "We" and "They," these differences can be eventually overcome. It suggests that we can all work towards a future where we are all equal, where our differences do not define us, and where we are all free to be who we want to be.

In conclusion, "We and They" is a poem that is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. It is a reminder that despite our differences, we are all human and we all share a common destiny. It is a call for unity, a call to recognize that we are all in this together, and a call to work towards a future where our differences do not divide us but instead bring us closer together as a global community.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry We and They by Rudyard Kipling is a classic poem that explores the themes of identity, belonging, and the human tendency to divide ourselves into groups. The poem is a powerful commentary on the way we perceive and interact with those who are different from us, and it challenges us to question our assumptions and biases.

The poem begins with a simple statement: "We and They." This immediately sets up a dichotomy between two groups of people, and the rest of the poem explores the differences between them. Kipling uses vivid imagery and metaphor to describe the two groups, painting a picture of two distinct worlds that are separated by an unbridgeable divide.

The first stanza describes "We" as a group of people who are "good and wise and free." They are the ones who "live in peace and plenty" and who "build up a nation's fame." In contrast, "They" are described as "foolish, wicked, blind" and as "sullen and unjust." They are the ones who "live in strife and sorrow" and who "bring a nation's pride to shame."

This stark contrast between the two groups sets up a clear hierarchy, with "We" being the superior group and "They" being the inferior group. However, as the poem progresses, Kipling begins to challenge this binary view of the world.

In the second stanza, Kipling describes how "We" and "They" are both "children of one mother" and how they both "drink from the same old well." This metaphorical well represents the shared human experience that unites us all, regardless of our differences. Kipling is suggesting that despite our perceived differences, we are all fundamentally the same.

The third stanza takes this idea further, describing how "We" and "They" are both "battling hosts of life" and how they both "strive for power and greed." This suggests that the differences between the two groups are not as significant as we might think, and that we are all driven by the same basic human desires.

The final stanza of the poem is perhaps the most powerful. Kipling writes, "If blood be spilled on either side, / Let it be spill'd in manful strife / Where brother fights with brother, / And the loser hath full life." This suggests that if there must be conflict between "We" and "They," it should be a fair fight, with both sides having an equal chance of victory. Kipling is advocating for a world in which we can disagree and even fight with each other, but in a way that is respectful and fair.

Overall, Poetry We and They is a powerful poem that challenges us to question our assumptions and biases about those who are different from us. Kipling is suggesting that despite our perceived differences, we are all fundamentally the same, and that we should strive to treat each other with respect and fairness. The poem is a timeless reminder of the importance of empathy and understanding in a world that is often divided by fear and mistrust.

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