Writing definitively about economic classes can be difficult because there is a myriad of causes and effects which develop each, one of the primary being language. Not only does the amount of capital determine how you're treated through allowing you to demonstrate your wealth through artifact accumulation, but the nuance and gestures used demonstrate class, preventing others from having to intimately know your wealth, to know if you have any. For this reason, writers need to nail character dialogue, because no matter how much wealth you spread out on the page, if certain physical cues aren't demonstrated, the other characters on the page should pick up on the class discrepancy if they're genuine, organic characters. This is the theme of the popular novels The Count of Monte Cristo, and Les Miserables.
According to Orwell, Kipling unnecessarily embellishes the Cockney accent when writing underclass dialogue, and awkwardly manifests the characters' attitudes, from a practical standpoint. Although this affects the literary style, Kipling isn't an ignoramus about social events, and has some empathy for his characters, demonstrating their intricacies and intimacies. I find this interesting, considering he knew all soldiers were terrified on the battlefield but described war so vividly and sensationally that it developed a different tone on page than the characters' mentality would naturally elicit. These elements just didn't fully jive. (The novel The Road exemplifies synthesis of tone, environment, and dialogue; they're all dreary, matter-of-fact, and bleak.)
Page 404 directly quotes a Kipling war poem:
An' now the hugly bullets come peckin' through the dust,
An' no one wants to face 'em, but every beggar must;
So, like a man in irons, which isn't glad to go,
They move 'em off by companies uncommon stiff an' slow.
It just doesn't seem like a deadly situation when he says it like that.
The issue at hand is his literary style, of course. Is he a poet, or is he just writing a novel in verse? It's a difficult line to run because verse by definition is rhythmic, and the best verse pieces incorporate multiple unique things that when combined, flow and carry meaning for a broader, grander experience. So while Kipling's class distinctions may be weird, he spans various topics and issues that inform audiences of mundane and special events. His literary eye was wide open, and just reading some of his stuff can make you wonder how he processes information because he incorporates elements of prose (common speech) in his verse.
Orwell categorized Kipling as a "good bad poet" because he can reach the masses with his domestic language and simplicity, without completely sacrificing meaning. Page 409: "The fact that such a thing as good bad poetry can exist is a sign of the emotional overlap between the intellectual and the ordinary man...A good bad poem is a graceful monument to the obvious. It records in memorable form--for verse is a mnemonic device, among other things--some emotion which nearly every human being can share." It's hard to fault Kipling, because his work used devices that were out of his time though effective because despite the numerous critics admonishing him as vulgar, their names have all but been forgotten yet his is still remembered as one of the greats. Learning from his style though is very difficult, because his mental and emotional eccentricities are what bore his unique literary product.
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