The Novel Kim by Rudyard Kipling: Summary, Structural and Thematic Analysis

Many literary works are centered on the Empire and its colonies. Rudyard Kipling’s Kim is one of the most famous. It’s a novel set in the British Empire and demonstrates how certain books are highly representative of it.

The Great Game is the historical political conflict between Britain and Russia that took place in central Asia. This setting sets the scene for the novel. The novel vividly presented the subject of power contention and intrigue. Although the story is set after the end of the second Afghan War in 1890s it took place before the third. Kim by Rudyard KIPLIN is basically a fairy tale about a child named Kimball O’Hara. The story is set in British India in the late 1890s. Kim spends his energy in Lahore, circling, seeking nourishment and, for the most part driving a lighthearted, underhandedness substantial lifestyle. Kim’s prescience is derived from his father, who has since died. Kim claims that his fortunes will change when he finds a Red Bull on an emerald green field. Two men will be the first to lay the groundwork for this Red Bull landing.

Kim is seen playing in front of the Lahore Museum. It is also known throughout the book as the Wonder house. Kim recognizes a person wearing clothes that are in line with a new trend. He is a Tibetan Buddhist who is from the North and he is also a lama. Since he heard that the caretaker of the Wonder House is a skilled man, the lama must address him. Because he is looking for an entity that is crucial to him, the River of the Arrow, he needs to communicate with smart people. The lama indicated that the Buddha once shot a bolt a great distance beyond his target during a test of quality. A River jumped up when the arrow hit. The lama wants to find a stream he can swim in, so he can become enlightened. Kim admires the lama’s unusual qualities and the solemnity that he achieves. Kim insists on going with him on his journey to find the River of the Arrow.

The lama welcomely accompany chela and they arrange to travel together to Benares, the heavenly city. The lama and Kim travel south on foot and by train. Despite Kim’s different mind from Mahbub Ali, they establish a deeper connection while on their journey. Kim then sends the Englishman his note and further establishes that there are five northern Indian kings who want to separate from the British Indian government. Kim loves communicating data that has an actual effect on state decisions. The lama then takes him back to the monastery and they go on to search for the River of the Arrow. Kim is captured by an Anglican minister while he ventures into the army camp. When the minister discovers that Kim is actually a British boy and offers to pay for Kim’s education at St. Xavier’s, Kim (by Rudyard Kipling) Kim initially hates his school. However, Colonial Creighton recommends him and the hatred soon changes. Colonial Creighton takes Kim under his wing. Creighton encourages Kim to spend the summer with Lurgan as he closes the school year. Kim hopes to be an agent in the British Indian Secret Service. Creighton orders Kim to travel six months in India before he allows him to roam the country. This will allow him to see what Indian life is like. A man called Babu is accompanying Kim to Benares. The lama has traveled quite a lot throughout the time Kim spent at school. The lama would like to join Kim and set out on a journey for the river, hoping to attain Enlightenment. Kim is informed by the Babu about his reason for being here. Babu noticed two Russian agents behaving suspiciously with rebel kings. The babu must get the messages these people may transmit, but he doesn’t want to do this alone. So he hires Kim to help him. When the two specialists, Kim and the lama meet while out and about, everything reaches a crucial stage.

Kim is in the middle to send his drawing to the lama when agents arrive to take it from him. When the lama refuses to sell the drawing, he smacks him in the face. They then run, but leave behind their luggage. Kim searches the crate and finds a secure crate containing messages from the slope rulers. These messages discuss injustice against British Indian government. Kim goes to bed and sleeps for 36 hours. However, there are many things that happen while he’s asleep (Kim by Rudyard Kipling). The lama was having an intense dream while Kim was sleeping. The vision showed the lama flying high above the world, and being taken to the Great Soul, which is the center of creation. The lama emerges from the dream wet and splashing. This waterway must have been the River of the Arrow. Kim will be able to see the River of the Arrow after the lama has discovered it. The lama has finally come to a deep understanding of his place on this planet. The novel is written in third person omniscient. Kim is the narrator of the novel. He seems to communicate information about the emotions of the characters and appears to know almost everything about everyone. There is plenty of information that is provided on Creighton and Mahbub Ali, but it is clear that the emphasis on Kim is a decision, not a fundamental limitation on the storyteller’s point of view.

The narrator also takes on a distant, specific point of view that includes precise perspectives. To use film terminology, there are times when the reader absorbs incredible amounts of visual data. Kim stops to look at the convoy or sees the unique urban landscapes in India and the Himalayas. The storyteller then gives these stunning previews of the scale of people or the beauty of the scene. This draws attention to the variety of Kim’s surroundings (Kim by Rudyard Kipling).

This is an example from Lurgan’s Simla house. “There were ladies looking for necklaces and men, it seemed. Kim–but perhaps his mind was vitiated early training–in the search of the ladies, natives from independent or feudatory courts, whose ostensible business consisted in the repair of broken necklaces—-rivers of light were poured on the table–but whose true purpose seemed to be to raise funds for angry Maharanees and young Rajahs (Chapter 9, pg. 107). This quote is a great example of Kipling’s ability describe a variety of people. Lurgan’s home is a cross-section of Indian culture. The storyteller can add many details to emphasize the size and scope of the society. There are several overarching themes throughout the story. From the beginning of the novel, the theme of imperialism is prominent. Kipling presents a finely drawn depiction and correspondence of solidarity and correspondence among the “native” (Sahib) classes, with the unavoidable certainty the British are the overseeing and Indians the administrated (Kipling’s ‘Kim’ Study Guide). Kipling portrays India’s imperialist occupation as positive.

This is most evident in the main plot of the novel. It shows that British and Indian agents work together to protect British India’s northern border from Russian infringement, and thus secure the supreme interests British Empire. It is crucial that Indian covert spy spies protect British interests. In this way, Kipling creates an India where the Indian population supports the British empire. This shows Britain’s radical closeness as a positive deed (Kipling’s ‘Kim’ study guide). It is clear that Kim’s imperialist ideology was a narrative strategy to show Kim’s power over the colony’s native residents. These ideas are not acceptable today because Kim was a representative of British rule in India. Kipling believed it was appropriate and correct for Britain to ‘possess India’ and manage its people. The possibility that this position might undoubtedly be sketchy never appeared to have entered Kipling’s mind. Although there was an Indian revolt against British rule during Kipling’s writing, Kipling seems not to have noticed it throughout his novel (Imperialism, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim). Kim, the ideal example of the conflicting Indian and English worlds, is great at clarifying colonization, government. Kipling paints an Indian dream where moral, political and scholarly limits are not the same.

If Kipling believed, as he did, that East and West could never meet in an Indian colony, then this is where Kim makes sure they don’t. Kipling’s dominion is more apparent. Kipling believed in racial differentiation, which is European predominance, and that British authority in India was a strong fact (Imperialism in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim). Rudyard Kipling’s creative inventiveness was greatly affected by the Great Empire, especially in the creation of his characters, and the unmistakable life they led. The supreme divisions between white and non-white existed in India during the time when Europe’s predominantly Christian nations controlled 85 percent of the globe (Imperialism in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim). Identity and Orientalism are themes that are very prevalent throughout the story. Orientalism is represented by the information and convictions regarding the people groups from the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia. It was imposed upon their countries by the Western European colonizers.

Many of the negative perceptions of Indian life that Kim presents are distainful generalizations that were based on orientalists’ beliefs (Real English). These defamatory ethnic generalizations are clearly different from Kipling’s portrayals of the British as the British culture developed (Kim by Rudyard Kipling). When Lurgan Sahib attempts to enter Kim, Kim recounts the multiplication tables he learned in English at school to counter. This symbolizes Kipling’s belief that British law has advanced beyond superstitious methods of dealing with Asians (Real English). The diversity of Kim’s life helps to legitimize and support the administration of the “more skilled British” over Indians. Kim’s character is in a dilemma of identity because he is an Irish vagrant who experiences childhood in Lahore, India, and adapts to Indian culture and ways of life. Kim can technically claim that he is an Indian individual belonging to any religious or social group. Without a second’s delay, he is a Sahib. He also, because of the uprightness of his childhood years, is a part of the colonized community (Real English). Kim experiences an emergency in his personality when he first is asked to attend class to become Sahib. Kim’s search for belonging and character is a devastating experience that leaves him feeling lonely.

Kim’s assertion of identity is made by being immersed in British culture. However, Kipling doesn’t force Kim to choose between being a Sahib and a native. Kim’s inexplicable ability to accommodate both is what Kipling represents as his larger model of a united British India (Real English). The epitome and embodiment of solidarity and correspondence of men is Kim. This is primarily through the Buddhist lessons of Teshoo Lama. Kim is told by him that the Way is not black or white, Hind or Bhotiyal. We are all souls looking for escape. The idea of equality and unity among men transcends the caste system. Kim has lived in this Hindu society for his entire life (Real English). The Wheel of Life is a chart that the lama carries with him. It’s an illustration of the Buddhist principle that all life is equal in the cycle of death and that all spirits seek to be free from it by attaining Enlightenment. The story’s numerous references to the Wheel of Life throughout reinforce the message of solidarity and balance (Kim by Rudyard Kipling).

Kipling rarely gives feedback on the lama and his Enlightenment journey. Kim also displays different religious convictions. Ideally, the novel’s goals include the lama achieving Enlightenment. This serves to validate, rather than invalidate, the principle of unity and solidarity that is resounding throughout (Real English). Kipling also uses the topic of unity to show an India that isn’t divided by the government, but is instead brought together under it. This is especially evident in the relationships between the characters who are interested in the Great Game: Mahbub Ali, an Afghan; Lurgan Shib, a man from “blended” races; Hurree Chur Mookerjee (a Bengali); and Colonel Creighton (an Englishman, officer, and thus a member of the ruling class (Real English). Despite their differences, all of these characters are part of a tight group of reconnaissance which serves the British Empire’s interests in India. Kipling clearly indicates that both Indian and British characters are working together for an equal purpose to the benefit of the kingdom. This is a glorified, absurd depiction (Real English) of an all-embracing, joined-together British India.

The British empire was the most powerful realm on the planet at the time Kim was published in 1901. Many “Anglo-Indians”, who called India home, considered the Indian subcontinent to be a key part of the empire. Imperialism was more than the British Empire’s colonization of other ground; dominion was a logic that predicted the British predominance and the ethical responsibility to share their knowledge with the “uncivilized”.

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