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Monday, May 23, 2011


"The Wheel of Things"
  1. Were somebody else writing this book, I'd be less inclined to think there's nothing to what I'm about mention, but, as it's digging me, here it is: what do you make of the use of a serial number, essentially, as designation for and in place of a name for the young spy Kim saves?  Does the lack of name alter our perspective of the character?  Why not have Kim--and this would not, I think, be out of his character--press the young man for his rightful name and thence use it?
  2. "...by the curse of the Queen's stone ... and by an assortment of Gods with wholly new names."  (haha)
  3. new word (as always, new, anyway, for me): ruck: n. a crease or wrinkle (as in fabric, cloth), or crowd of people; v. to compress into untidy folds.  Off-hand, I wonder if this word might apply to the waves and bowing of very old panes of glass.
  4. Potential for a complication!  Will Kipling take advantage of the opportunity he's created for himself?  It seems to me that the misjudgment by the Lama on Kim early in the chapter could open up a conflict.  Will this have lasting effect on Kim or the relationship between him and [one of] his [many, though this the first] master[s]?
  5. Kim, as Friend to all the World, lives in more than world.  In particular, of course, is his duel citizenship to that of the Sahibs and of the Lama.  What do you make then of the Lama's words, "No matter what thy wisdom learned among Sahibs, when we come to my River thou wilt be freed from all illusion," inasmuch as it may indicate a required choice, and therefor abandonment of one World for another, of Kim, especially as it was the Lama who essentially paid for Kim's tuition to the Sahib's world?
  6. "Let us get to the yolk of the egg":  What is this chapter even about?
  7. On racism (this time brought up by Kim's discussion with Huree Babu): I'm feeling the need to defend, at least for the moment, and maybe by some personal tendency toward devil's advocacy, against accusations of Kipling's racism.  Can it be racist to indicate, and often as dominant label, race and caste if this too is the manner by which individuals of the story--time and place--identify themselves?  Would it have been even possible for Kipling to avoid the potentially racist labels (and why would he, as there was little cultural reason for him to do so)?
  8. On finger-snapping (an aside): There are, obviously, I think, two or three general applications of the finger-snap (aside from musical), that is [1] the "darn-it", [2] the "hurry-up" or otherwise indication of velocity, and [3] the less-common-to-US impatience, irritation, or disagreement (that of finger-snapping under another's nose, for example).  The first two, and their derivatives, I've seen and used most of my finger-snapping life.  The third, however, I've only observed in connection to British and other European cultures, until my son (6-years-old) mentioned an observation of his from a student in his kindergarten class: a girl, of apparently long-term family residency in the USA, snaps her fingers under the nose of anyone she disagrees with when she corrects that person.  Thoughts or other applicable experiences?
  9. "There is no hurry for Hurree" (haha).
  10. "He believed that the dung of a black horse, mixed with sulphur, and carried in a snake-skin, was a sound remedy for cholera; but the symbolism interested him far more than the science."
  11. How often Kipling appears to fully narrate the unimportant or disinteresting while glossing over the stuff I think I'd actually enjoy reading!
  12. What does the Lama require of Kim in return for the latter's paid tuition for his three-year sahib's education?


  1. 1. I think that it's Kim's vanity. He gets caught up in the whole spy ring. Btw, E23, I wonder if it refers to anything.
    4. I don't think that it ends up being a problem. The Lama is naive enough, and Kim is savvy enough that I think that he can make it work.
    5. Well, the Lama doesn't seem to believe it's a choice. Kim will just be overwhelmed by enlightenment, and the answer will seem obvious. And Kim doesn't think that he has to make a choice either because he doesn't believe in this. I think that the book would be a whole lot more interesting if there were some looming choice that Kim had to make.
    6. ...
    7. Yeah, the book has not been as racist as I had thought it would have been before reading it. There are still some instances that struck me as racist (can't remember them now unfortunately) in which he made categorical racial statements in the voice of the narrator (rather than the characters, who HAVE to express the beliefs of their time).
    8. I've had a teacher at SASA snap his fingers at me out of impatience. I won't say anymore on who HE was, other than that he's still teaching high school at SASA.... Pretty rude.
    9. I suppose that this one was inevitable. :)
    11. Exactly.
    12. Help finding the River, I think.

    This book is wearing on me. The current record on "Unmoderated Caucus" is 2.5 stars, I believe, in a tie between "The Woggle-Bug Book" and "The Social Network." I think that "Kim"'s looking good to set a new standard.

  2. 1. I wondered about the E particularly, figuring the 23 was just the number for that particular agent. I don't know.
    4. I agree. I wish, though, that something HAD happened--or anything!
    5. We don't seem to have much faith in these characters, do we? I keep hoping one or both of these characters will change--develop.
    6. Haha!
    7. Agree.
    8. !!!
    9. I laughed out loud.
    10. I really liked this quotation, which seems to follow pretty closely with the overall book experience: great sentences, paragraphs, or even a chapter here or there, but never a string tying it all together.
    12. Yep.

    I keep looking ahead to see how much more we have left hoping that it will get shorter faster.

  3. 5. Do we have any reason for faith in these candidates so far?
    10. Agreed. It's a good sentence, but really sort of an isolated moment of excellence.

  4. 5. Yeah, okay. But this already feels like such a failed choice that I want to be absurdly and irrationally optimistic.
    10. Which shows what his potential is! How frustrating!


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