Kim Essay, Research Paper
Kim gives a vivid picture of the complexities in India under British rule. It shows the life of the bazaar mystics, of the natives, of the British military. There is a great deal of action and movement, for Kipling’s vast canvas painted in full detail. The dialogue in the novel makes use of Indian phrases translated by the author, they give the flavor of native speech in India. They are also touches of the native behavior and shrewdness.
The time the novel took place was around the late nineteenth century. The story takes place in a hot and dry location of British India. Most of the scenes either take place in the wilderness or the streets of India.
Kim grew up on the streets of Lahore. His Irish mother had died when he was born. His father, a former colorsergeant of an Irish regiment called the Mavericks, died eventually from doing drugs and having too much to drink, and left his son in care of a half-caste woman. So young Kimball O’hara became Kim, and under the hot Indian sun his skin grew so dark that one good not tell that he was of the Caucasian race.
One day a Tibetan lama, in search of the Holy River of the Arrow that would wash away all sin, came to Lahore. Struck by all possibility for an exciting adventure, Kim attached himself to the lama as his chela. His adventures began almost at once. That night, at the edge of Lahore, Mahubub Ali, a horse trader, gave Kim a cryptic message to deliver to a British author in Umballa. What Kim did not know was that Mahbub was a member of the British Secret Service. He delivered the message as directed, and then lay in the grass and watched and listened until he learned that his message meant that eight thousand men would go to war.
Out on the big road the lama and Kim encountered many people of all sorts. Conversation was easy. One group in particular interested Kim, an old lady traveling in a family bullcock cart attended by a retinue of eight men. Kim and the Lama attached themselves to her party. Towards the evening they saw a group of soldiers making camp. It was the Maverick regiment. Kim, whose horoscope said that his life would be changed at the sign of a red bull in a field of green, was fascinated by the regimental flag, which was just that red bull against a background of bright green.
Caught by a chaplain, the Reverend Arthur Bennett, Kim accidentally jerked loose the amulet, which he carried around his neck. Mr. Bennett opened the amulet and discovered three papers inside, including Kim’s baptismal certificate and a note from his father asking that the boy be taken care of. Father Victor arrived in time to see the papers. When Kim had told his story, he was informed that he would be sent away to school. Kim parted sadly from the lama, sure, however that he would soon escape. The lama asked that Father Victor’s name, address, and the costs of schooling Kim, be written down and given to him. Then he disappeared. Kim pretending to prophesy, told the priests what he had heard at Umballa. They and the soldiers laughed at him. But the next day his prophecy came true, eight thousand soldiers were sent to put down an uprising in the north. Kim remained in camp.
One day a letter arrived in camp from the lama. He enclosed enough money for Kim’s first year of school and promised to provide that amount yearly. He requested that the boy be sent to Saint Xavier’s for his education. Meanwhile the drummer who was keeping an eye on Kim was cruel to his charge. When Ali came upon the two boys, he gave the drummer a beating and began talking to Kim. While they were thus engaged, Colonel Creighton came up and learned from Ali, in an indirect way, that Kim would be, when educated a valuable member of the Secret Service.
At last Kim was on his way to Saint Xavier’s. Near the school he spied the lama who had been waiting a day and a half to see him. They agreed to see each other often. Kim was an apt pupil but he disliked being wrapped up in classrooms and dormitories. When vacation time came he went to Umballa and persuaded Ali to let him return to the road until school reopened.
Traveling with Ali, he played the part of horse boy and saved the trader’s life when he overheard two men plotting to kill the horse dealer. At Simla, Kim stayed with Mr. Lurgan, who taught him great, many subtle tricks in the art of makeup and disguise. For, as Ali said, he was now learning the great game, as the work of the secret service was called. At the end of the summer Kim returned to St. Xavier’s. He studied there for a total of three years.
In conference with Mr.Lurgan and Colonel Creighton, Ali advised that Kim be once more permitted to go out on the road with his lama. Kim’s skin was stained dark again and he resumed the dress of a street boy. Given the password by Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, a babu who was another member of the secret service, Kim set out with his lama, after begging a train ticket to Delhi.
Still seeking his river, the lama moved up and down India with Kim as his disciple. The two of them once more encountered the old woman they had met on the road three years before. A little later Kim was surprised to see the babu, who told him that two of the five kings of the north had been bribed and that the Russians had sent spies down to India through the passes that the kings had agreed to guard. Two men, a Russian and a Frenchman, were to be apprehended, and the babu asked Kim’s aid. To the lama Kim suggested a journey into the foothills of the Himalayas, and so he was able to follow the babu on his mission.
During a storm the babu came upon the two foreigners. Discovering that one of their baskets contained valuable letters, including a message from one of the traitorous kings, he offered to be there guide, and in two days he had led them to the spot where Kim and the lama were camped. When the foreigners tore almost in two a holy drawing made by the lama, the babu created a disturbance, in which the coolies, according to the plan, carried off the men’s luggage. The lama conducted Kim to the village of Shamlegh. Their Kim examined all of the luggage which the coolies had carried off. Everything except letters and notebooks he threw over an unstable cliff. The documents he hid on his person.
In a few days Kim and the lama set out again. At last they came to the house of the old woman who had befriended them twice before. When she saw Kim’s emaciated condition, she put him to bed, where he slept many days. Before he went to sleep, he asked that a strongbox be brought to him. In it he deposited his papers; then he locked the box and hid it under his bed. When he woke up, he heard that the babu arrived, and to him he delivered the papers. The babu told him that Ali was in the vicinity.
They both assured Kim that he had played his part well in the great game. The old lama knew nothing of these matters. He was happy because Kim had brought him to his river at last, a brook on the old ladies estate.
The theme of the story is mainly adventure. Kim travels through the Himalayas, goes on long trips with the lama and goes to a school, which is new to him. Kipling expresses this theme very vividly in the novel. He backs the theme with many details and carefully planned plots. I also believe there is a minor theme of love in the story. Kim loves the old lady and Kim also loves the lama whom he travels with.
1. Kimball O’hara (Kim)- The son of an Irish mother, who died in India when he was born, and an Irish father who died from drug overdose. Kim grows up on the streets of Lahore. Travels with a lama as a chela. He is put into school and finally distinguishes himself as a member of the British Secret Service.
2. A Tibetan Lama- Becomes Kim’s instructor and whose ambition is to find the holy River of the Arrow which would wash away all sin. After Kim’s education is complete he accompanies the lama on his wanderings, though he is really a member of the secret service. In the end he finds the river he is looking or, it ends up being a brook attached to an old woman’s house.
3. Mahbub Ali- A horse trader who is really a member of the secret service. He is largely responsible for Kim’s becoming a member of the British secret service.
4. Colonel Creighton- The director of the British Secret Service, who permits Kim to resume the dress of a street boy and do secret service work.
5. Hurre Chunder Mookerjee- A babu, and also a member of the Secret Service. He is Kim’s confederate in securing some valuable documents brought into by spies for the Russians.
Personal Evaluation and Conclusion:
I personally liked the novel “Kim”. The reason I liked the novel is because I love adventure stories. The story line of “Kim” was very exciting and kept me in suspense. I especially liked the way Rudyard Kipling used Indian sayings in the book to give me a feel for the setting of the novel. I would personally recommend this book to anyone and anyone who has read it would probably recommend it to me
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