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‘The two sided man’: a critical stylistic analysis of representations of the coloniser in Rudyard Kipling's Kim

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posted on 2022-10-14, 00:42 authored by Jane Margaret MacNeill Henderson

This study investigates the representation of the coloniser in Rudyard Kipling’s Kim by conducting a critical stylistic analysis of the ‘Three Priests’ passage (Kipling, 1989, pp. 132-142). This novel is permeated with ambivalence, refracting the ideological ambiguities of the late Victorian period, particularly with regard to questions of colonialism and interracial relations. As a result, Kipling’s work is characterised by a lack of a fixed ideological position, a fluidity which is protean and dynamic, and inherently ambivalent. Critical stylistics is employed as the primary tool for the analysis of the text and, in particular, the following linguistic features are examined for the insights they provide: mood, modality, ergativity, process types/participants and point of view. In addition, postcolonial literary theory’s conceptualisation of hybridity and ambivalence, and the Bakhtinian theory of the carnivalesque, are also employed to enhance the interpretation of the stylistic analysis. The key findings of the study include an enhanced appreciation of the complexity of the socioideological representation of the coloniser and colonial relations which challenges the stereotypical view of Kipling as an imperialist. This is achieved through a critical stylistic analysis which provides answers as to how ambivalence and hybridity are enacted at the grammatical level of the text.


Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction -- 2.0 Literature Review -- 3.0 Methodology -- 4.0 Discussion and Findings -- 5.0 Conclusion -- 6.0 References -- 7.0 Appendix


Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research (Linguistics)

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Medicine, Health & Human Sciences, 2020

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Annabelle Lukin


Copyright: Jane Margaret MacNeill Henderson Copyright disclaimer:




106 pages

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