When I signed up to be…

When I signed up to be an English professor, I didn't know that I would wake up in the middle of the night, still having an argument in my head with Edward Said about his Penguin critical introduction to Kipling's Kim. I hope writing down some additional lecture notes will allow me to actually go back to sleep. At some point I'll have to make these more coherent, but this is the sort of thing English professors think about (mild spoilers):

What Said dismisses as mumbo-jumbo actually core of novel -- tension between the Law (which he thinks Kipling is unthinkingly in favor of), which perhaps Kipling does believe has done some good in India (although not clear if there's evidence for that), and the demands of Buddhism, which point out the futility of attachment, and the great dangers inherent in being tied to the Wheel. Passion/violence almost destroys the lama at the crisis, and in another form, it almost destroys Kim.

One of the climax/turning points might be when Kim pulls out his pistol --- which even in carrying. he betrays his first master, who spent three hundred rupees a year that he might be a scholar and not a warrior. But when he does discharge it, it is not at a person, but rather at the sky. as a threat only.

As for the 'loyal solider' who Said uses as evidence of Kipling's unquestioning loyalty to ideals of Empire -- isn't that soldier a caricature, by comparison with Kim and the lama, something of a joke, especially underlined by the brutal appearance of his solider son, whipping his horse and threatening a carter and asking for money -- this is what he's supposed to be so proud of? Did Kipling really mean us to trust his version of the Mutiny? (See also his reference when they first arrive at Lucknow to the local story of the place.)

Okay, Said? Got it? Now let me go to sleep!

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