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Thread: Kim's conflicted loyalties

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Kim's conflicted loyalties

    I have a couple more chapters to read. No man can serve two masters, yet this is what Kim appears to be doing. He is genuinely devoted to the lama, yet he is also spying for the British colonial services in India. There seems to be some conflict in loyalty, on the face of it. Kim appears to be using the unsuspecting lama as cover, yet he truly respects the old man. However, the old man is not a fool, so I wonder whether he knows he is being used but has not let on. I also wondered why the lama paid for Kim's expensive education at a colonial school. If Colonel Creighton thought Kim was worth educating, why wouldn't he find the money? Why would a Tibetan holy man consider it to be in a boy's spiritual interest to be taught at a Roman Catholic school? Perhaps the lama acts for the British too, but If the lama was somehow complicit in the Great Game, why would he favour the British colonial government in India over the Russians. If, on the other hand, the lama is unsuspecting of Kim acting as an agent for the British colonial services, how will he react when he finds out? I am confident Kipling will resolve these questions, because he was a truly talented writer. I will be disappointed if the resolution does not measure up. I am intrigued to see what will happen to Kim now. Will he become a British agent, or will he become a Buddhist monk?
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I have finished the book now. It seems like the lama thinks Kim should be a teacher, although educational or spiritual it was not clear. Meanwhile Mahmud Ali thinks he will want Kim's help on a mission in a few months' time. It seemed the Lama really was ignorant of Kim's spying activities. Kim does not seem to think working for the British colonial government is inconsistent with being a Tibetan monk's disciple. He genuinely cares for and respects the lama, and yet is careful to conceal hidden documents and a revolver from him. You'd think it would be a recipe for cognitive dissonance, but apparently not. Perhaps spies get used to living like this: genuinely caring for and liking the people they find themselves among, but dissembling to them nonetheless. Not that Kim is doing anything to hurt the Lama or the Tibetan people, but surely the lama would be disappointed with Kim. He would think spying to be incompatible with "The Way" and that such activities would tie him to the Wheel of Life. Maybe Kim does not think he is doing anything wrong by spying. Perhaps he thinks India is as well off under British rule as anyone else's, and certainly better of than under Russia's rule or any of their client kings.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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