Answer and Explanation:
a) How does this poem reveal the attitudes and behaviors of a dominant culture?
By Rudyard Kipling, the poem "The White Man's Burden" reveals that dominant cultures act as if they are doing a favor to those they subjugate. They call it a "burden" to invade and conquer lands and peoples, as if it is a heavy duty they are bound to fulfill, as if they are doing this for the benefit of the dominated cultures rather than their own.
b) How does it portray the culture of those who are being conquered or oppressed?
The poem is quite clear when portraying the culture of the oppressed:
<em>Half devil and half child</em>
In other words, the speaker believes the conquered to be inferior, underdeveloped and, therefore, deserving of invasion.
c) How has your own culture influenced how you perceive and interpret this poem?
NOTE: This is a personal question. I will answer it with my own experience, but you will most likely need to adapt it to fit your own.
I was born in a colonized country and, even though I am considered white, I was fortunate enough to be taught about the oppression of the natives who had lived in this land way before the Europeans arrived. I was also enlightened when it comes to the horrors of slavery and its repercussions, which in fact last until today. Reading such a poem makes me shocked and disgusted, especially because I have the knowledge that the idea of the white man's burden was indeed used as an excuse for the atrocities that took place in several countries. Forcing languages, beliefs, religions, behaviors, rituals, etc. onto peoples, destroying their lifestyle and culture, and justifying it all by claiming to be helping, educating... it is repulsive.
d) Do you sympathize with the white man?
I do not sympathize with the white man described in the poem. This is the white man who hurts, mutilates, kills and enslaves, all the while believing he has the right to do so.
e) Is there any truth to the claim that imperialism imposes a burden on those who engage in it?
There is not. Imperialism serves the goals and needs of the colonizer, never the colonized. Destroying and acculturating were choices, not duties, not burdens. They did not wish to improve the lives of the colonized. Colonizers only wished to conquer, to keep those native peoples under control while taking away the natural wealth from their lands.