This chapter explores Kipling’s masterpiece and critical test case, Kim. While many critics have identified features such as ‘colour’ as being important to it, the understanding built up in previous chapters allows the functional utility of colour and light and movement to be fully credited. The chapter shows how the key relationship between Kim and the lama articulates a complementary divide that went straight to the heart of Kipling himself: between the worldly and non-worldly, the moment and beyond, logos and mythos. It also identifies Ralph Waldo Emerson as a key influence on the novel’s spiritual dimension. The chapter closes by showing how some of the postcolonial readings that have come to dominate the interpretation of Kim rely on a partial or distorting account of it, and argues that a critical reading of the novel should be able to take accurate account of the words laid out on its pages.
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