Kim Questions and Answers
by Rudyard Kipling

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How important is the theme of identity to an interpretation of Rudyard Kipling's Kim?

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As in much of Kipling, identity is a crucial theme in Kim Kim's identity as both European and Indian is crucial to the story. He is born the child of Irish parents but raised as an Indian boy on the streets of Lahore after his parents die, his skin baked so dark he can pass as a native. Kim's power derives precisely from his fluid identity and his ability to straddle cultures, that of the British overclass and that of India. If he had been raised merely British, he would have been lacking in some of the skills—such as the ability to pass as Indian—that the British spy service needed to protect the country from the Russians. However, the...

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