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What is the message in the poem "The Law of the Jungle" in The Jungle Book?

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literature2011 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted May 31, 2011 at 9:26 PM via web

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What is the message in the poem "The Law of the Jungle" in The Jungle Book?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 7, 2011 at 4:01 AM (Answer #1)

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The message of this poem is that the wolves of the forest have both rights and responsibilities.  It is saying that wolves should have a great deal of freedom, but that their freedom should not extend to allowing them to do things that will hurt their community.  This can be read as a commentary on Kipling's part about how human society should run.

As an example, we are told that a wolf's lair is his "refuge" and that not even the head wolf may enter without permission.  That shows that wolves have rights.  At the same time, however, if the wolf has "digged it too plain," the Council can tell him to "change it again."  This means that the wolf cannot use his rights to do something (like having his den where humans can find it) that will endanger the pack.

These parts of the law show that wolves have rights, but they also have responsibilities to their communities.

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