Rudyard Kipling’s short story “Beyond the Pale” follows a traditional plot structure which includes various foreshadowing elements that let the reader know that the story has a tragic end.

The story’s main characters are an Indian woman named Bisesa and an Englishman named Trejago, who begin a forbidden affair. Trejago is characterized directly by the narrator, and he comes across as someone who enjoys defying rules and considers himself superior to Indians. Bisesa is mostly characterized using Trejago’s perspective, who sees her as a naïve, child-like Indian woman, yet is attracted by her beauty.

The setting of the story is India during British colonial rule. The events take place in the gully where Bisesa lives, which is described using the symbolic barred window and the sun she never sees, to set the tragic atmosphere of the story. The social setting looks at both Indian culture and British colonialism, focusing on their impact on interracial relationships. 

The story has a third-person narrator with extensive knowledge about the characters and their tragic story, but who intentionally withholds information from the readers until the end. This makes the story more appealing because the narrator takes a moral stance and turns out to be subjective.

The language of the short story stands out through similes that help convey characters’ emotions in a vivid manner, but also through symbols that suggest isolation, overstepping boundaries, and impossible love. Additionally, the story includes a poem that echoes the love between the characters through metaphors and lyrical language.

Further help

Short story analysis

I denne vejledning får du Studienets hjælp til at analysere noveller (short stories) i engelsk.