Author: Rudyard Kipling
Reading from a 21st century perspective is definitely a challenge. "White Man's Burden" is probably the most egregious offender, interpreted by many as a justification of imperialism. "Gunga Din," the story of an Indian water carrier, fares a little better. The title character, while much abused, is ultimately hero and martyr. "The Female of the Species" is the most problematic from a sexual politics perspective. Basically, the poem asserts that a woman is to be feared because of her motherly, protective instincts. That in itself wouldn't be so horrible except for Kipling arguing that motherhood is her only meaningful purpose.
"Tommy" is better. A common soldier, speaking in common vernacular, tells of his woes. He gets no respect in polite society but is cheered for his bravery when marching off to war. Alas, some things haven't changed much.
I admire Kipling for his command of language but it's clear he was living in a different world. For me, it can be difficult seeing past his admittedly typical Victorian attitudes.