We will apply what we know about this element of the short story to this story.
Who is the narrator? Kipling is obviously the journalist in the story. Why did Kipling choose to tell the story from this perspective? Is it because that he had experience as a journalist; therefore, his writing will be real and believable? Is it possible that he chose this point of view because the role of journalist connotes particular attributes, e.g. sharp observation skills?
Is the narrator a minor or major character?
How does the narrator help the story along? Does he ask the right questions of Peachey to help the reader?
It is important to keep discussion going in class, encouraging students to express their thoughts on these and other questions. Encouragement could best be accomplished by emphasizing that there are no comments which are wrong, only that some are better explanations of events in the story.
Further study and lessons on other elements of the short story are recommended. It is apparent that lessons on character, setting and theme would make for some interesting discussion. There are several points at which this story and the history come together. I am sure that the teacher will find himself/herself referring back and forth through the course of this unit, e.g.
p. 26 Peachey says to Dan, “ . . . this business is our Fifty-Seven.” He says this to him after the discovery by the priests that they are not gods. This is an obvious reference to the Mutiny of 1857, a subject covered in the history narrative.
pp. 21-22 Dravot refers to the color of the natives skin. As they moved from conquest to conquest their skin color was lighter. Dravot declared, “ . . . they’re English.” Dravot had many delusions of grandeur throughout the story. He declared them Emperors, much like an Emperor of more than two thousand years before, Alexander. Alexander’s conquests in this area of the world
be an explanation for the skin color. (Refer to a map which depicts the conquests of the armies of Alexander, c 330 B.C.)