Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Shere Khan, the tiger, pursues a small Indian boy who strays from his native village, but Shere Khan is lame and misses his leap upon the child. When Father Wolf takes the boy home with him to show to Mother Wolf, Shere Khan follows and demands the child as his quarry. Mother Wolf refuses. The tiger retires in anger. Mowgli, the frog, for such he is named, is reared by Mother Wolf along with her own cubs.
Father Wolf takes Mowgli to the Council Rock to be recognized by the wolves. Bagheera, the panther, and Baloo, the bear, speak for Mowgli’s acceptance into the Seeonee wolf pack. Therefore, Mowgli becomes a wolf. Baloo becomes Mowgli’s teacher and instructs him in the lore of the jungle. Mowgli learns to speak the languages of all the jungle people. Throughout his early life, the threat of Shere Khan hangs over him, but Mowgli is certain of his place in the pack and of his friends’ protection; someday when Akela, the leader of the wolves, misses his kill, the pack will turn on him and Mowgli. Bagheera tells Mowgli to get the Red Flower, or fire, from the village to protect himself. When Akela misses his quarry one night and is about to be deposed and killed, Mowgli attacks all of the mutual enemies with his fire sticks and threatens to destroy anyone who molests Akela. That night, Mowgli realizes that the jungle is no place for him, and that someday he will go to live with men. That time, however, is still far off.
One day, Mowgli...
(The entire section is 1166 words.)
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The Jungle Book is a collection of stories that relate the experiences of a human child, Mowgli, who is adopted and raised by wolves in an Indian jungle. As he grows up, he learns the ways of the jungle and the different personalities of its animals. He is accepted as a "wolf" by the other animals, but when he is finally exposed to humans, he begins to question his own identity. He resists the realization that he is human because he is dismayed by the greed and destructiveness of those who invade the jungle. He can accept stupidity or savagery, as characterized by certain members of the animal world, because each animal in its own way is true to its nature. But the greed of humans is beyond his understanding. Through a series of adventures in which he must defeat his sworn enemy, the tiger, and overcome many obstacles, he eventually comes to accept his humanness.
The Mowgli stories in The Jungle Book are followed by a series of animal fables that pursue similar themes. These stories feature such familiar characters as the mongoose Riki-Tikki-Tavi. Some editions of Kipling's work place all the stories of Mowgli in one volume and all of the animal stories in a second volume.
(The entire section is 209 words.)
Shere Khan the tiger has hunted a man cub, but the wolves have adopted him as their own and named him Mowgli (the frog). As Mowgli grows up, he is guided by Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther, who supported Mowgli’s wolf parents in their desire to raise Mowgli. Bagheera, who had been raised by man, teaches Mowgli how to retain his humanity and warns him that some day he must go back to the village. When Akela misses a kill, Shere Khan and the young wolves he has flattered demand that Mowgli be given to him. Mowgli threatens the tiger with the Red Flower (fire), his one fear. Shere Khan backs down, but Mowgli knows that he must leave the jungle and return to the world of men.
The Bander-log (monkey tribe) kidnap Mowgli, carry him far into the jungle, and hold him prisoner. Bagheera and Baloo fear that they are not strong enough to fight the entire Bander-log, so they appeal to Kaa the serpent. Kaa agrees reluctantly, and the three follow the directions of Mang the Bat. They find the tribe and attack, though it is Kaa who causes the monkeys to fear and flee. In gratitude, Mowgli promises to drive goats toward Kaa should the serpent ever be hungry.
Mowgli leaves the wolf pack and returns to the village. He is met with suspicion but is adopted by Messua and her husband, who think Mowgli is Nathoo, the child they lost to Shere Kahn. Messua examines Mowgli carefully and realizes that it is unlikely that he is Nathoo, but she is determined to raise him as her own anyway. Mowgli has trouble adjusting to life in the village. The hunter Buldeo is especially antagonistic to him and sets him herding cattle. Mowgli’s brother wolf, Grey Cub, tells Mowgli that Shere Khan is nearby in a ravine. Mowgli herds the cattle into the ravine, trapping the tiger. The cattle trample Shere Khan to death, and Mowgli skins him. Buldeo arrives and tries to claim the skin. Mowgli orders Grey Cub to attack Buldeo, who returns to the village claiming that Mowgli is a sorcerer. Mowgli is driven out of the village and returns to the wolf pack, bringing Shere Khan’s skin with him.
The White Seal
Kotick is a white fur seal born on an island in the Bering Sea. The island is crowded year after year when the seals come to mate before heading south for the winter. Kotick...
(The entire section is 2370 words.)