|Kim astride the Zam-Zammah; illus.|
from first edition (as far as I can tell)
(This reading from beginning of chapter 1 through paragraph "The curator would have detained him: they are few in the world who still have the secret of the conventional brush-pen Buddhist pictures which are, as it were, half written and half drawn. But the lama strode out, head high in air, and pausing an instant before the great statue of a Bodhisat in meditation, brushed through the turnstiles.")
- The opening verse of the chapter is the first of 9 stanzas of the poem "Buddha at Kamakura," from Kipling's collection (originally published just a couple years after Kim), The Five Nations. Here is a background on the collection, and here is the poem in its entirety within the collection.
- The "Zam-Zammah": like the red bull (to come) is quite potentially a symbol of some sort, considering Kim's heritage and current status, as he sits astride it and heckles the locals.
- Summarize the position of Kim's birth and his birthright, particularly regarding his status of British orphan left in India.
- What do you make of the "red bull in a green field," apart from the brilliance of the image? Regardless of the "magic" of the Masonic Order, what magic must there always be for Kim in those three papers? With this magic in mind, what weight might the opiated "prophesy" hold over him?
- Label the connection (perhaps it's obvious) between Kim and a prominent character from "Arabian Nights"? Anything significant here beyond the superficial connection by age and lifestyle?
- "The Middle Way."
- First impression: The old Lama entering the museum with Kim reminds me of the two Mr. Kumars from Life of Pi.
- "Pilgrimage," apart from religious excursion, is a perfect label for which of the -romans? And so a connection to the Arrow that became a River.
- Kim is generally lost listening to the Lama and the curator discuss the museum's holdings, so, as per the note below, I don't see any particular need to ensure our knowledge of the material as this book is narrated through Kim's eyes. However, the spectacle clearly makes an impression upon Kim. Thoughts?
- "So it comes with all faiths." What does the curator intend?
- The Lama's personal faith interests me. I am no scholar of world religions, but it seems a little self-contradictory. Maybe one of you can help me out: What is the Lama's faith? Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu? And then what's with the rosary (is this where Martel got the triple-faith backdrop for LoP)? Why might he want to break free (via the River of the Arrow) of The Wheel of Things?
- What of the gift exchange between the two disciples, as the Lama describes the curator and himself?
Wikipedia will surely become an even closer friend than ever through the reading of Kim. While a certain amount of knowledge--schema--is required, I don't think that to understand what in the world Kipling is talking about, we need to be experts in Islam, Buddhism, Indian history, etcetera, so I don't plan to particularly over-clog the discussion points/questions with links to the encyclopedia (it would, after all, I think amount to a thousand points-per-chapter!), nor will I overindulge myself in writing up my own ecstatic discoveries of India and British-Indian culture. However, as we read, if you believe I'm remiss in the omission of some key point or observation you've come across, please say so!