These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Rudyard Kipling
Alternate Character Interpretation: A common trick of Kipling's was to follow up a short story with a poem looking at it from the point of view of a secondary character or villain. The results can be startlingly different - compare 'The Knife and the Naked Chalk' to 'The Song of the Men's Side'.
Fair for Its Day: "The White Man's Burden" was at least this. Shallow and racist though it may seem at first, it does not advocate the cruel treatment many of the natives in Africa or Asia received, and urges imperialism to be treated as a humanitarian method of introducing them to English culture.
It also treats European supremacy as being a historical accident rather than an inevitable result of intrinsic superiority, unlike many contemporaries.
A theme running through much of his work.
Uh, its full title is "The White Man's Burden: The United States and the Philippine Islands"... If you don't know how the news of the Philippine War was received, read Mark Twain's articles on it. This was neither pretty nor boring. And, seriously, asking Americans to become what they were still a bit proud of throwing out? Of course it stirred everyone and they grandmother, provoking lots of answers immediately. In this context it looks like Troll Fic, probably aimed at both sides of the discussion. See also The last rhyme of True Thomas and Jobson's Amen.
Similarly, "We and They" mocks xenophobia by making the "expositor" himself hilariously immature.
And by the time he wrote "White Man's Burden", it had passed its zenith - and he was well aware of that.
Misaimed Fandom: Some people thought that The Ballad of the Clampherdown was intended to be serious.
Most people miss the irony of "If—" (namely, that if you can do all those things, then you are goddamn Superman), the point being the hideous pressure placed on younger generations by their elders.
Older Than They Think: Used at the top power as a polemical tool (The King, In the Neolithic Age). Proto-troll culture (Stalky). Also, Kipling wrote sci-fi. And sketched the lines of the Steam Punk (The King).
He may have been the first writer to use the concept of the Tractor Beam. In "As Easy as ABC," when a woman tried to commit suicide to make a political point, the "flying loop" yanked the knife out of her hand.
Dick: I did him just as well as I knew how, making allowance for the slickness of oils. Then the art-manager of that abandoned paper said that his subscribers wouldn’t like it. It was brutal and coarse and violent,—man being naturally gentle when he’s fighting for his life.They wanted something more restful, with a little more colour. I could have said a good deal, but you might as well talk to a sheep as an art-manager.