Study Guide

Father Victor in Kim

By Rudyard Kipling

Father Victor

Father Victor is the Catholic chaplain for the Irish Mavericks regiment. Like Bennett, his Anglican colleague, Father Victor has his own strong prejudices toward the Indian people around him. He has a lot of trouble believing that the lama will keep his word about paying for Kim's education at St. Xavier's because the lama is not white, and when he refers to the lama as an old beggar-man, Creighton has to correct him: "lama, my dear sir; and some of them are gentlemen in their own country" (6.147).

But while Father Victor appears plainly racist, he also has more respect for other people's feelings than Bennett has. When he first meets the lama, even though he cannot speak the lama's language, he can see from the lama's face that the man is heartbroken to be losing Kim. This sight makes Father Victor feel some sympathy towards the lama, even if he doesn't try to get the lama's perspective at all. And it's Father Victor who thinks to take a closer look at Kim to see if he can find out the mysteries of Kim's origins.

Without Father Victor's sensitivity and observant nature, Kim would never have been taken in by the Irish Mavericks regiment. So Father Victor has a lot of shortcomings, sure, but he is also a mostly humane and decent guy—again, unlike his stiff, rigid, unhelpful colleague.