Topics for Discussion
1. In Kim, like a number of novels for young adults, is a story about a boy living by his wits. How has Kim managed to survive with a guardian who is poor and an opium addict?
2. Kipling clearly has great respect for Buddhism as an alternative to the two other major religions of the region, Hinduism and Islam. Why is Kim willing to travel with the Buddhist lama through India?
3. India is one of the important subjects of the novel. Kipling used India as the setting for much of his writing, and Kim was his last piece set in that country. What is it that Kim learns about India as he travels on the road with the lama?
4. Mahbub Ali is clearly one of Kim's mentors, but he is not a completely good force the way the lama is. How does Kipling show both the good and the bad sides of Mahbub Ali?
5. We assume that the lama is very poor, since he is begging throughout his journey. Explain how he is able to pay for Kim's expensive schooling.
6. What kind of rebellion might the Indian princes engage in? Why is such a rebellion a threat to British rule?
7. Kim is a complex character with many sides. His lama clearly realizes that he must be educated befitting his ancestry. Why, then, is Kim unhappy at school?
8. Kim is a novel of education for both Kim and the lama. What does Kim learn in his time with Sahib Lurgan?
9. Kipling completes his notion of education through the character of the lama. What has the lama learned by the end of the novel about his search for the River of the Arrow?