Thrown Away

Last updated

"Thrown Away" is a short story by British author Rudyard Kipling. It was published in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills (1888), and in subsequent editions of that collection.

Rudyard Kipling English short-story writer, poet, and novelist

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work.

<i>Plain Tales from the Hills</i> book by Rudyard Kipling

Plain Tales from the Hills is the first collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling. Out of its 40 stories, "eight-and-twenty", according to Kipling's Preface, were initially published in the Civil and Military Gazette in Lahore, Punjab, British India, between November 1886 and June 1887. "The remaining tales are, more or less, new."

"Thrown Away" tells of an unnamed 'Boy', a product of the English "sheltered life system" that Kipling abhors:

"Let a puppy eat the soap in the bath-room or chew a newly-blacked boot. He chews and chuckles until, by and by, he finds out that blacking and Old Brown Windsor make him very sick; so he argues that soap and boots are not wholesome. Any old dog about the house will soon show him the unwisdom of biting big dogs' ears. Being young, he remembers and goes abroad, at six months, a well-mannered little beast with a chastened appetite. If he had been kept away from boots, and soap, and big dogs till he came to the trinity full-grown and with developed teeth, just consider how fearfully sick and thrashed he would be! Apply that motion to the "sheltered life," and see how it works."

Having been protected from all unpleasantness, the Boy has not been toughened and has not learned "the proper proportions of things". The Boy is sent to India, not having met his parents' expectations at Sandhurst, and becomes a subaltern in an Indian regiment. "This Boy — the tale is as old as the hills — came out and took all things seriously": he quarrels, and remembers disagreements; he gambles; he flirts, and is too serious; he loses money and health; he is reprimanded by his Colonel. When, finally, he is insulted (thoughtlessly) by a woman, he contemplates, and then asks for shooting leave, to go after Big Game where only partridge are to be found. He takes a revolver.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst British Army officer initial training centre

The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is one of several military academies of the United Kingdom and is the British Army's initial officer training centre. It is located in the town of Sandhurst, Berkshire, though its ceremonial entrance is in Camberley, southwest of London. The Academy's stated aim is to be "the national centre of excellence for leadership". All British Army officers, including late-entry officers who were previously Warrant Officers, as well as other men and women from overseas, are trained at The Academy. Sandhurst is the British Army equivalent of the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, Royal Air Force College Cranwell, and the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines.

A subaltern is a primarily British military term for a junior officer. Literally meaning "subordinate", subaltern is used to describe commissioned officers below the rank of captain and generally comprises the various grades of lieutenant.

A Major (also nameless) who has taken an interest in the Boy returns from his own leave, and fearing the worst presses the narrator to go with him to visit the Boy. ("'Can you lie?'", the Major asks; "'You know best,' I answered. 'It's my profession'" says the journalist Kipling, ever self-deprecating.) After a furious drive, they find the Boy dead, by suicide — as the Major had feared. They discreetly bury him, concocting a story of cholera. They discover letters that the Boy has written to the Colonel, to the Boy's mother, and to a girl in England. They are moved to tears by reading the letters, but they burn them, and concoct a letter to the Boy's mother, telling the lie about cholera, and others about his great promise etc., which earns her undying gratitude - "the obligation she would be under to us as long as she lived." "All things considered, she was under an obligation, but not exactly as she meant." The Major reveals the cause of his concern — he too had despaired when he was young, and he sympathised with the Boy.

Cholera Bacterial infection of the small intestine

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by some strains of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that lasts a few days. Vomiting and muscle cramps may also occur. Diarrhea can be so severe that it leads within hours to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. This may result in sunken eyes, cold skin, decreased skin elasticity, and wrinkling of the hands and feet. Dehydration can cause the skin to turn bluish. Symptoms start two hours to five days after exposure.

The story has keen psychological observations (the conspirators' combined laughter and choking fits as they prepare their lies) and telling narrative detail. For example, although they are tired, the Major and the narrator remember to "put away [the Boy's] revolver with the proper amount of cartridges in the pouch" in his room.

All quotations in this article have been taken from the Uniform Edition of Plain Tales from the Hills published by Macmillan & Co., Limited in London in 1899. The text is that of the third edition (1890), and the author of the article has used his own copy of the 1923 reprint. Further comment, including page-by-page notes, can be found here on the Kipling Society's website.

Related Research Articles

"The Man Who Would Be King" (1888) is a story by Rudyard Kipling about two British adventurers in British India who become kings of Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan. The story was first published in The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales (1888). It also appeared in Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories (1895), and numerous later editions of that collection. It has been adapted for other media a number of times.

Shere Khan fictional character from Kiplings "The Jungle Book"

Shere Khan is a fictional Bengal tiger and the main antagonist of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book and its adaptations. According to The Kipling Society, the word Shere translates as "tiger" and Khan is a title of distinction, used together "to show that he is chief among tigers." Other sources indicate Shere may mean "tiger" or "lion" in Azerbaijani, Persian, Kurdish, Hindi-Urdu, and Punjabi, and that Khan translates as "king", or "leader", in a number of languages influenced by the Mongols, including Pashto and Hindi-Urdu.

"The law of the jungle" The Oxford English Dictionary defines the Law of the Jungle as "the code of survival in jungle life, now usually with reference to the superiority of brute force or self-interest in the struggle for survival." It is also known as jungle law or frontier justice.

"Miss Youghal's Sais" is a short story in Rudyard Kipling's collection Plain Tales from the Hills (1888). It is the first appearance in book form of the fictional character Strickland.

"False Dawn" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in subsequent editions of that collection.

"The Other Man" is a short story by the British writer Rudyard Kipling, first published in the Civil and Military Gazette on 13 November 1886, in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in subsequent editions of that collection.

"Lispeth" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in the Civil and Military Gazette on 29 November 1886; its first appearance in book form was in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and it later appeared in subsequent editions of that collection. The tale is an interesting example of Kipling's attitudes to different races and cultures, which is less simple than many accounts of his beliefs allow.

"Consequences" is the title of a short story by Rudyard Kipling, first published in the Civil and Military Gazette on December 9, 1886; and first in book form in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills (1888), and in subsequent editions of that collection.

"The Conversion of Aurelian McGoggin" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in the Civil and Military Gazette on April 28, 1887, and first in book form in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in subsequent editions of that collection.

"A Germ-Destroyer" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in the Civil and Military Gazette on May 17, 1887, in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in subsequent editions of that collection. The story is one of Kipling's essays into farcical humour – with his frequent sardonic glances at the oddities of the way that the world works: here, the administrative world of the British Raj. He tells of the new Viceroy who has arrived with a Private Secretary called Wonder, who is trying to run the Indian Empire.

"The Arrest of Lieutenant Golightly" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in the Civil and Military Gazette on November 23 1886, in book form in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in subsequent editions of that collection. The story, published when Kipling was not quite 21 years old, is a well-crafted piece of writing about an essentially schoolboy version of schadenfreude - sheer pleasure, in this case, at seeing someone 'get his comeuppance' - with an element of slapstick.

"In the House of Suddhoo" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. The story was published in the Civil and Military Gazette on April 30, 1886 under the title "Section 420, I.P.C.". Its first appearance in book form was in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888. It was the third of the stories that appear in that collection to be written

<i>Frozen Fire</i> (novel) novel by Tim Bowler

Frozen Fire is a philosophical thriller about the nature of reality by Tim Bowler. The novel was first published in 2006. It introduces a mysterious boy who wants to escape his unhappy life through suicide, and a fifteen-year-old girl who only wants her brother back from wherever he has disappeared to. Frozen Fire has won several awards.

"His Wedded Wife" by Rudyard Kipling was published in the Civil and Military Gazette on February 25, 1887, and in book form in the first Indian edition of Plain Tales from the Hills in 1888, and in subsequent editions of that collection. It is one of the short stories that Tompkins classifies as a tale of 'revenge', but it has elements of those classified as 'farce'.

<i>Under the Deodars</i> book by Rudyard Kipling

Under the Deodars is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling.

<i>The Phantom Rickshaw and Other Tales</i> book by Rudyard Kipling

The Phantom 'Rickshaw and Other Tales, also known as The Phantom 'Rickshaw & other Eerie Tales, is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1888.

<i>Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories</i> book by Rudyard Kipling

Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling.

Damian Roberts

Damian Roberts is a fictional character from the Australian Channel Seven soap opera Home and Away, played by Matt Doran. The character debuted on-screen during the episode airing on 6 November 1991. Ben Hamilton played a young Damian in flashbacks in 1997.

Wireless (short story)

"Wireless" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in Scribner’s Magazine in 1902, and was later collected in Traffics and Discoveries. The sister-poem accompanying it, Butterflies or Kaspar's Song in Varda, Kipling claimed to have been a translation of an old Swedish poem, although this claim is unsubstantiated.