Kim: A Bildungsroman College

Kim is a novel about a young boy named Kim and his maturation into an adult. He goes on many adventures all the while playing the “Great Game” and tying to help the Lama attain “freedom from the Wheel of Things” (Kipling 12). A bildungsroman is a novel that shows the development of a child maturing into an adult where the protagonist identifies their role within the world (Bedford Glossary 39). Rudyard Kipling uses characterization, themes and setting to develop the idea of Kim being a bildungsroman. Though we do see Kim maturing throughout the novel he still questions his place in the world. Therefore, Kim is an incomplete bildungsroman.

The way in which an author “describes and develops” (Bedford Glossary 56) a character is known as characterisation. Kim is an incomplete bildungsroman and Kipling uses characterisation to develop this idea. Kim faces many challenging situations that are “largely adult in their form and significance” (Kaul 427). At the beginning of the novel Kim discusses the Lama with Mahbub Ali stating, “I tell thee he does not know how to lie – as we two know” (Kipling 20). This shows how Kim, though a child at the time, does not possess the innocence that we relate to childhood. He has dealt with difficult...

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