What are the principal points found in the following paragraph from Kim by Rudyard Kipling? “He did not want to cry—had never felt less like crying in his life—but of a sudden easy, stupid...

What are the principal points found in the following paragraph from Kim by Rudyard Kipling?

“He did not want to cry—had never felt less like crying in his life—but of a sudden easy, stupid tears trickled down his nose, and with an almost audible click he felt the wheels of his being lock up anew on the world without. Things that rode meaningless on the eyeball an instant before slid into proper proportion. Roads were meant to be walked upon, houses to be lived in, cattle to be driven, fields to be tilled, and men and women to be talked to. They were all real and true—solidly planted upon the feet—perfectly comprehensible—clay of his clay, neither more nor less. He shook himself like a dog with a flea in his ear, and rambled out of the gate. Said the Sahiba, to whom watchful eyes reported this move: 'Let him go. I have done my share. Mother Earth must do the rest. When the Holy One comes back from meditation, tell him.'”

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kipling2448 | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Kimball (Kim) O’Hara has lead a fascinating existence, literally scratching his way up from abject poverty -- “Kim was white – poor white of the very poorest,” as Kipling described the young boy in the opening chapter – to find himself a trained, educated agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service tasked with protecting England’s interests in the Asian subcontinent during the so-called “Great Game” waged between Britain and Russia for dominance throughout Central and South Asia.  Between the first chapter of Kim and the last, in which the quotation referenced in the question is located, Kim embarks on a great journey, accompanying a Tibetan lama, a Buddhist, on the latter’s trek to locate the Holy River, which is the key to Enlightenment.  During the course of this epic quest, interrupted by Kim’s “adoption” by a British Army regiment that sends him to England for education, the young boy grows into a man and devotes his life to purloining secret documents sought by both Russia and Britain and smuggling them to his British overseers. 

By the time Kipling’s novel reaches its final resolution, Kim has matured and gathered through experience and knowledge a far greater sense of the world in which he lives and the priorities that robbed him of a life of joy and meaning beyond the confines of his previous existence.  Contrasting the piety and honor of the lama with the treachery and amorality of those involved in his profession, Kim begins to reflect on his life.  Stepping into the bright sunlight, the vast expanse before him, Kim has what can only be called an epiphany.  As described by Kipling, his protagonist

“. . .looked upon the trees and the broad fields, with the thatched huts, hidden among crops – looked with strange eyes unable to take up the size and proportion and use of things – stared for a still half-hour.  All that while he felt, though he could not put it into words, that his soul was out of gear with his surroundings – a cog-wheel unconnected with any machinery . . .”

Suddenly finding himself approaching a sort of moral abyss, he begins repeating “I am Kim.  I am Kim.  And what is Kim?”  And then comes the paragraph included in the question, which begins with the following:

“He did not want to cry – had never felt like crying in his life – but all of a sudden stupid tears trickled down his nose, and with a almost audible click he felt the wheels of his being lock up anew on the world without.”

Kim has devoted a considerably part of his life to helping the Buddhist lama find enlightenment.  It only now occurs to him, however, that he too was searching for the Way of Enlightenment; he just didn’t know it at the time.  As often occurs with individuals suddenly facing a serious crisis, such as a life-threatening illness or death of a loved-one, Kim has discovered that the priorities to which he had devoted his life, his work as a spy for Britain, were misplaced.

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