Okay. I've decided I need to be more optimistic and assume that there's more of substance here than just the "window" to Indian cultures. My fear is that I may simply be too ill-equipped to get it. Normally, I'm pretty adept at culling bits and pieces of meaning from between the words and lines, but, here--and especially here as there is so much dialog and so little exposition--I'm distracted or lost, which alone are usually not so bad, but [again] here accompanied by a regrettable disinterest, those bits and pieces may go entirely unnoticed. Of course, I can't cast the book aside; we've begun and we will finish (or I'll finish it on my own, at least). So here are a few things I plan to look out for, all of which are potentially significant, as they've shown up in other important works:
- this is a historically significant book--the reputedly best of an author who won a Nobel Prize for literature--and its seeming lack of excellence is almost certainly my fault, not Kipling's;
- there is as much, if not more, "melting pot" going on in India as there is in England or the United States or anywhere else, and so there's got to be some statement about the influence of one culture upon the next and, as we've already examined to a degree, the inherent bigotries and tolerances that come along for the ride;
- as Kim moves between the various cultures, bearing his passport of "Friend to All the World," and eventually assumes his birthright under one in particular, how will he maintain or lose the others;
- Father Victor puts it most succinctly as he claims the label of "ethnologist" for himself, which, in the case of his obvious amateur status thereof, reminds me strongly of the enthusiast, amateur dinosaur hunters.