Colonialist Ideology in Kipling's Kim

Topics: Postcolonialism, Edward Said, Colonialism Pages: 4 (1023 words) Published: July 15, 2010
Proposed Title of the Thesis
Struggle over Identity: Colonialist Ideology in Kipling's Kim.

Statement of the Problem
Is Kim white or is he a native? While Kim insists that he is an Indian, the narrator adamantly asserts Kim's British origins. This struggle between Kim and the narrator continues throughout the novel. The struggle over the inheritance is resolved through a bifurcation of the paternal function: on the one hand, Kim's personal and emotional allegiance to the Indians and, on the other, his impersonal and rational relation to the Englishmen. I want to argue that this solution plunges the novel back into colonialist ideology.

It is hypothesized that Kim is a Manichean allegory, according to which Europeans are rational and intelligent in opposition to the natives who are described as irrational and insufficient. Kim's initiation into Espionage, his becoming an intelligence agent, allows the white Kim to serve colonialist power and the Indian Kim to concert with various natives who are emotional and sensuous.

Review of Literature
Kipling reveals the orphaned son of the Irish soldier called Kim. Kim spends his childhood as a vagabond in Lahore. With an old lama he travels throughout India. The writer creates a vision of harmony of India that unites the secular life and the spiritual life though there is identity crisis on him. Critic Abdul Jan Mohamed in his essay says," Imperialist is not fixated on specific images or stereotypes of the other but rather on the effective benefits proffered by the Manichean allegory which generates the various stereotypes."(68)

In the same way, he also opines on the attitude of colonialists toward the natives, “Colonialists are willing to examine the specific individual and cultural differences between European values, assumption, and habits in contrast to those of indigenous cultures"(66). He also asserts allegorical contrast in the comparison of two novels, and says," Kipling's Kim and E.M...
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