|"On the Road"|
- age-old question: The Lama's situation reminds me of a theme from the Agent Pendergast novel (Lincoln/Child) I just finished reading. Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss, inasmuch as the truth--or the process of gaining it--is so potentially painful. Is the Lama better off in the dark regarding, or ignorant of, the "real world" (he wonders whether Kim is a spirit or an evil imp) or to see it, experience it, and gain wisdom? Is Kim better off as he is (he is, after all, an exceedingly happy and optimistic individual), or were he more like the Lama? More broadly, I think about my children: is it better to protect them from the world that perhaps they may be happier for the lack of darkness thereof, or better off experiencing/observing as much of it as possible?
- Along the same lines, Kim, particularly considering his so-terrene nickname, is worldly, while the Lama seeks apparently to avoid worldliness. The word (and its derivations), "worldly," is pretty plastic in its application. In its most obvious, Kim is in "the seventh heaven of happiness" as he passes along the Old Trunk Road, watching the world pass by below him, while the Lama keeps, essentially, his eyes and mind closed to all but his own meditations. Any thoughts here?
- The long descriptive paragraphs in the first few pages of this chapter are gorgeous--not necessarily in their prose, but in their subject and the details of which Kipling chooses to accent: a riot of color, life, creatures--animal and humans alike (and how appropriately so!) --sin and piety, caste and race. What is your impression of life around the Old Trunk Road?
- (Is it just me, or is there a taste of Dickens about this book: the orphan, the bustling city...?)
- I'm interested in the tonal arc of this chapter and how the ambient activity and light/dark reflect in the mood of the day's inhabitants.