between the acts

between the acts - 1 The Duality of Kim Throughout...

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The Duality of Kim Throughout Kipling's Kim, the protagonist, Kim, moves between the white and nonwhite worlds in India with the ease and skill of a chameleon. His unique ability to ignore caste divisions and experience true freedom of motion allows Kipling to render a vision of India unconstrained by typical limits of perspective. The motif of Kim's white blood further provides a unifying theme for the portrayal of India's struggle between British Imperialism and national pride. Kipling's main goal in Kim is to show a nostalgic picture of India with a savory attention to minute details of its rich tapestry of cultures to readers in Europe. With sweeping views of the country from southern cities to northern mountains, Kim's adventures explore the totality of the empire in a manner reminiscent of Odysseus. This clearly male novel focuses on men, leaving women in the margins because of their limited vision and inability to inhabit all worlds like Kim. “Seeing all India spread out to left and rights and feeling these things, though Kim could not give tongue to his feelings” is the objective of the novel (Kipling 77). Kipling wants the reader to be so enthralled with India and so familiar with his love for the land that he can share the taste of Kim's sugar-cane and the Lama's snuff (77). This scene on the Grand Trunk Road typifies the sweeping view of India Kipling is attempting to render. Yet, the novel's focus is not exclusively on a distant bird's eye view of India from above, where it can be seen spreading out from a distance, but an intimate safari into places Englishmen cannot enter without the help of Kim, who can befriend anyone and pass unnoticed into the heart of India. 1
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Said, in his article, “Kim, The Pleasures of Imperialism,” argues for the need to discuss the novel with a focus on its extrinsic context. “We must not unilaterally abrogate the connections in it, and carefully observed by Kipling, to its contemporary actuality” (Said 41). Said's main extrinsic connection is the Sepoy Mutiny, which was fresh on most English minds. He points out that most Englishmen perceived the rebellion as a localized confusion regarding cow and pig oils used in weapons of native soldiers. Kipling, he assumes, must have ignored the true drive behind the rebellion--freedom from English Imperialism--because he viewed British power as the logical and welcome goal in India. Assumptions aside, Kipling clearly recognized the social hierarchy in India and is
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between the acts - 1 The Duality of Kim Throughout...

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