The short story “Beyond the Pale” by Rudyard Kipling is set in India during the British Raj, when India was a British colony. The setting is suggested by the references to the East (l. 75), as well as the use of Hindu words like “Sahib” (l. 149). The events in the narrative take place in a neighborhood in a city: “Deep away in the heart of the City, behind Jitha Megji's bustee, lies Amir Nath's Gully, which ends in a dead-wall pierced by one grated window” (ll. 14-15). A ‘bustee’ is a poor part of a slum and shows that the girl might have a poor economic situation.
The physical setting is the place where the female character lives and is further depicted as follows: “At the head of the Gully is a big cow-byre, and the walls on either side of the Gully are without windows.” (ll. 15-16) The description suggests an unpleasant area, but also the idea that reaching Bisesa means overcoming several obstacles which Tejago ignores. As such, the depiction is symbolic of the obstacles the couple will face. Equally symbolic is the fact that Trejago never finds out what is the door to Bisesa’s house (ll. 185-188), suggesting their relationship would never be ‘welcomed’ by society.
Bisesa lives in a ...