Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Kim

1. Who is Kim? Good question. Kim has a whole portfolio of identities-everything from Sahib to low-caste Hindu. Which is the real one? Stupid question.

The character with the strongest and most settled identity- Teshoo Lama- is the one who values it least.

Playing the Great Game is also a way of breaking free of the Wheel. A spy has no caste, no fixed persona, no bonds. Hurree Chunder Moockerjee is a very fearful man because it suits him. He is and he isn't. He has arranged for his timidity to serve him.

Persona is a courtesy we offer to the world so it will know how to deal with us. We're fools if we allow ourselves to be taken in by what we say we are.

Kim is almost free of the Wheel. The only thing that brings him back to it is love- love of particular persons, love of the Wheel itself.

2. Kim is a very short book that expands in the memory. It contains the whole of British India- or seems to. Kipling is a writer who sees no need to go on and on about a thing once it is said; let the reader do the fleshing out.
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