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The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is a collection of stories that examines the jungle, nature, and survival from the perspective of the animals. By illustrating life from the perspective of animals, Kipling is able to address fundamental aspects of human nature through the eyes of the animals and exploit the wonders of nature itself. The Jungle BookTechniques used to tell the stories within The Jungle Book include giving human characteristics, such as speech and complex thought, to animals; a foundation of Darwinist principles helps develop the characters; giving heroic qualities to the characters illustrate both man and natures reliance on the characteristics of courage, self-reliance, loyalty, and trust; and Kipling’s use of vivid description aids in character development throughout the stories.

Rudyard Kipling provides a complex mix of story telling in intertwining the tale of Mowgli and the saga of the animals of the jungle in The Jungle Book. The stories are often misinterpreted as the story of Mowgli, however, Kipling meant them to be the voice of the animals of the Jungle and how they view humanity. Therefore, Kipling uses the animals to teach Mowgli the “laws of the jungle” and what emerges is the stark differences between man and animal.

The stories begin with “Mowgli’s Brothers” and the main characters of the book are introduced. Mowgli is found as a baby boy by Shere Khan the tiger. The wolves take away Mowgli, claim territorial rights to him, and raise him as their own along with the wise bear, Baloo. The animals attempt to raise Mowgli according to the laws of the “Jungle Book” and promise him that his name will be added to the book when he is older and wise. As Mowgli grows up, Baloo feels that Mowgli is too human and humans have only caused trouble for the animals.  However, in several decisive moments in the stories, Mowgli rejects human society, bravely saves the life of Baloo, and becomes a hero of the jungle and of humanity.

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