* NOTICE: Mr. Center's Wall is on indefinite hiatus. Got something to say about it? Click HERE and type.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

KIM XVI -- chapter 10: COTERIES and MEDIUMS (media?)

Ventriloquy and bellyspeak: "...he was careful not to step in Huneefa's blotched, squat shadow on the boards. Witches—when their time is on them—can lay hold of the heels of a man's soul if he does that."

So what is Kim now?

(I'm not sure what else to say or ask about this chapter.  Any other thoughts?)


  1. Totally confused. As far as I'm concerned, this chapter could use a careful revision. There are 3 things that Kipling does that can get very confusing.

    1. Foreign cultural references (necessary and interesting, but difficult to keep up with)
    2. He often doesn't state who is speaking.
    3. He often doesn't state about whom or to whom is being spoken.

    1 is sort of unavoidable in this story, but 2 and 3 are getting really annoying.

    As far as Kim, what's clear, and perhaps the most that I could actually gather out of this, is that he's elevating within both official and secretive ranks. However, the last sentence of the chapter where the policeman orders him off the steps suggests that he's still in over his head; he's still merely a kid who's caught up in the midst of all of this.

  2. Almost all of the chapters could use revision! I get your number 1. Like you said -- inescapable, but your mentioned 2 and 3 drive me nuts! I wonder what it is about what we've labeled the best chapters that make them the best: the fact that they simply have more substance and more interesting story elements, or if they're simply better written. I wonder if the same editorial problem got in the way of this book as did (so we presume) "Mysterious Flame," that is editors were too scared to seriously edit and alter the text because it was ECO, because it was KIPLING.

    I agree also with what you say about Kim--over his head, but being groomed for both public and private employment. The thing that interested me most in this chapter was the incomprehensibly unlikely group of people discussing Kim's usefulness and employment, though the black magic was interesting inasmuch as it was seriously "out there."

  3. On the subject of the black magic, I thought that this chapter was very typical of the book as a whole. Lots of interesting cultural tidbits, but a lack of coherence for the story as a whole.

  4. And why not divide it into two? Right now I'm just trying to get us through the book quickly, so no more of this dividing chapter into two posts; but the two segments are so disjointed! Many of his chapters are like this, though--divided into two "acts."

    If I were reading this on my own--not publicly--I'd have given up on it by now.

  5. What do you make of Kipling's transliterations of dialect and accent? I think the issue of who is speaking is often supposed to be understood, but I have a hard time with that as it's hard to recreate an accent in my mind that I'm essentially unfamiliar with....

  6. Oh yeah, these languages, dialects, and accents are completely foreign to anything that I've ever studied, so it's hard to evaluate. Look, I think he's trying. I'm just not sure that it's working. In other words, the same as the book as a whole. I love all the folklore, but there has to be an exciting story behind it, too. The biggest criticism I've read of "Moby-Dick," and I don't know what you think of it so far, is that it falls into this trap, too. Since it's one of my favorite books of all-time, I obviously disagree, but I can see the point.

  7. Haven't start MD yet. I will begin probably next week, after I've finished one other book. You're not the only one I trust who's claimed it as their favorite, or one of their favorite, books, so I'm confident I'll enjoy it.

    I just don't want to throw in the towel on Kim. We're this far, after all....

  8. Yeah, neither do I. There's a lot of potential in this book. Had it been utter crap, I would have suggested that we abandon it a long time ago, but I just keep waiting for magic. I thought that we were getting to it in chapter 9, but chapter 10 was disappointing.

    I hope you like Moby. It's probably the most divisive book with which I'm familiar. Well, "Ulysses" is really divisive, too, but I'm sort of in the middle on that book, whereas with MD, I'm very protective.

  9. And how many people blindly acknowledge that "Ulysses" is the best book ever? I think only those who've actually read it have a justified/justifiable opinion of it, and even then, how many don't get it and assume that it must have just been too great for them to get? (I'm not in a hurry to read it. As it is, I still have to finish "Dubliners"!)

    My hopes, too, were high with chapter 9. *sigh* And chapter eleven isn't exactly riveting.

  10. Oh joy. It sounds like I will continue with my plan to read another chapter of "Salvation on Sand Mountain" (loving it so far!) before I tackle "Kim" then.

    And with "Ulysses": I agree, and the other problem is that it's such a sophisticated book that everyone who says that s/he doesn't like it runs the risk of being told, "Oh, you just did not understand the wit." And I agree, I didn't understand a lot of it! But even factoring that in, it is not the greatest book of all-time. It's clearly a masterstroke, but greatest book of all-time? Pshaw.


Be sure to subscribe to the thread to receive discussion updates.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...