by John McGivering)
|notes on the text|
The subject of solitariness - and the resulting breakdowns and suicides – was close to Kipling’s heart, as is clear from the plight of the all too sensitive ‘Boy’ who fails to be ‘broken in’ in “Thrown Away”. The Narrator and the Major have top concoct their great lie about The Boy’s death. As they bury him, the Major indulges in ‘awful stories of suicide or nearly – carried – out suicide -- tales that made one’s hair crisp. He recalled that he himself had once gone into the same Valley of the Shadow (Psalm 23, verse 4.) as The Boy when he was young and new to the country; so he understood how things fought together in The Boy’s poor jumbled head’. Rudyard had been there too.Kipling encountered many young officers during his time in India, and wrote many stories about therm. Perhaps the most successful of them all is "The Brushwood Boy" in The Day's Work. See also "Only a Subaltern" in Wee Willie Winkie.