The diamond-bright dawn woke men and crows and bullocks. Kim sat up and yawned, shook himself, and thrilled with delight. This was seeing the world in real truth; this was life as he would have it – bustling and shouting, the buckling of belts, and beating of bullocks and creaking of wheels, lighting of fires and cooking of food, and new sights at every turn of the approving eye. The morning mist swept off in a whorl [~whirl] of silver, the parrots shot away to some distant river in shrieking green hosts: all the well-wheels within ear-shot went to work. Indian was awake, and Kim was in the middle of it.In this passage we have strong panoramic elements. We have the declared veracity of panorama paintings: “This was seeing the world in real truth”; we have the method for visual consumption of a panorama: “[N]ew sights at every turn of the approving eye”; and we have the spectator and his reception of the spectacle in the panorama building: “Kim was in the middle of it”, “thrilled with delight”. Kim, of course, is no ordinary panorama spectator; he is one of the colonisers, he is part of the imperial enterprise. He is in fact “[t]his one boy in all India” (Kim, 138) around whose controlling eyes and ears his father’s regiment moves.
Rudyard Kipling, Kim, 121.
’I go from one place to another as it might be a kick-ball. It is my kismet. …I am a Sahib…No; I am Kim. This is the great world and I am only Kim. Who is Kim?’ He considered his own identity, a thing he had never done before, till his head swam. He was one insignificant person in all this roaring whirl of India, going southward to he knew not what fate.The world is beginning to turn at a speed Kim is unfamiliar with; it is no longer a beautiful, slow-paced, even inert spectacle of benevolent indifference or dumbstruck admiration for Kim. Instead, it is a lonely world of indifference, a world which with Kim only realigns himself at the end of the story.
Kipling, Kim, 166.
’Look! It shall come to life again, piece by piece. First the big piece shall join itself to two others on the right and the left – on the right and the left. Look!’This spectral experience could have been produced by a magic lantern, but it would also resemble a diorama experience, where, as described earlier, switching the direction of the illumination could change the situation in a scene. The jar could thus be broken in one diorama scene and be made whole in the next. What links this scene in Kim to the imperial positive is Kim’s resistance to succumb to the subconscious and other such mumbo-jumbo: A diorama is merely the manipulation of light and colour, and he, Kim, is in control of it all as is the Victorian reader familiar with such a visual experience.
‘To save his life, Kim could not have turned his head. The light touch held him as in a vice, and his blood tingled pleasantly through him. There was one large piece of the jar where there had been three, and above them the shadowy outline of the entire vessel. He could see the veranda through it, but it was thickening and darkening with each beat of his pulse. Yet the jar – how slowly the thoughts came! – the jar had been smashed before his eyes.’
Kipling, Kim, 202