Study Guide

The White Man's Burden What's Up With the Title?

By Rudyard Kipling

What's Up With the Title?

The title "The White Man's Burden" should come as no great surprise. After all, it's a part of the poem's central refrain, which gets repeated at the start of every single stanza. In essence, the title announces the poem's central thesis: it's up to white men to go out there and tackle the tough, thankless job (hence "burden") of showing native people the "proper" way to live their lives. Yeah, we got a bad taste in our mouth just typing that sentence.