Gunga Din by Rudyard Kipling
1. Who is the speaker of the poem?
The poem’s speaker is a soldier of the English army fighting in India.
2. What is Gunga Din’s job? How do the others treat him?
Gunga Din is the water-boy for the army. The other soldiers seem to treat him as a servant, ordering him around and not truly appreciating his service.
3. Throughout the poem, the speaker employs the use of military terms and regional language. What is the term for such use of non-standard English?
The term is dialect.
4. What does the speaker mean when he says, on line forty-five, “An’ for all ‘is dirty ‘ide/ ‘E was white, clear white, inside/ When ‘e went to tend the wounded under fire.”
The speaker means that thought Gunga Din’s skin was dark because of his ethnic (Indian) background, there was nothing “dark” or “evil” about him—he was pure and courageous on the inside.
5. In your own words, describe what amazed the speaker about Gunga Din.
The speaker tells us that even when the fighting gets difficult or intense, Gunga Din shows no fear and puts himself at risk to be sure the men get water.
6. Why does the speaker retort, “You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!” at the poem’s conclusion?
Gunga Din lost his life doing his job and aiding the wounded speaker. The speaker has finally come to appreciate Gunga Din.
7. What is the tragic end of Gunga Din?
While tending to the speaker, Gunga Din is shot. Before he dies, he says to the speaker, “‘I’ope you liked your drink.’”