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By Leonée Ormond (auth.)

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Extra resources for KIM by Rudyard Kipling

Sample text

He has been worrying about the security of the spies' letters, evidently an English anxiety, but now a new note enters, calling for another mental language: 'This time Kim thought in the vernacular as he waxed down the oilskin edges of the packets' (278). 7 WRITTEN LANGUAGE Written language can also create misunderstanding. The letters exchanged between Father Victor and the lama mystify both, because the process of translation and transliteration has obscured the intended meaning. The effect of the words of the dignified lama, as rendered into English by a scribe, entreating Almighty God to bless the celibate Father Victor's 'succeedings to third an' fourth generation' (116) is highly comic.

Several other languages are also mentioned, helping to build up an impression of linguistic complexity. The lama finds monks in Ceylon speaking Pali, the ancient Buddhist language, and uses 'ornate Chinese' (213) in bidding farewell to the Jain temple. Some of the visitors to Lurgan's shop speak Bengali, and the people of Shamlegh use a mountain dialect of their own. The Russian spy and his French companion communicate in French (French being the language of polite speech in Russia at this date) and Hurree Babu finds that, although he learnt his French in Chandernagore, he cannot follow their dialogue: ' "Now what the deuce is good of Chandernagore being so close to Calcutta and all", said Hurree ...

Arnold's poetic account of the life of Buddha became a cult work in late Victorian England. The original founder of the religion, Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, probably lived between 563 and 483 Be. The surviving accounts of the Buddha's life are mingled with legend, but certain central events are documented, and marked by Buddhist shrines. Among these are the four holy places to which Kim's lama travels: the birthplace at Kapilavastu; Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha received enlightenment; the deer park at Sarnath, where he preached his first sermon; and Kusingara, where the Buddha died.

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