Describe three conflicts that Rikki-Tikki faces. Which conflict do you think is his greatest challenge? Why? How is it resolved?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the mongoose, faces many challenges as he carries out "the great war" in this story. He has interpersonal conflicts with other animals when he tries to get their assistance in fighting the snakes. Two animals who he tries to convince to help him, mostly unsuccessfully, are Chuchundra the muskrat and Darzee the tailorbird. He wants Chuchundra to reveal to him what Chua, the rat, said, but Chuchundra, whining and whimpering, gives only a very small hint that helps Rikki discover that the snakes are coming into the house. Later Rikki wants Darzee to act as a decoy to lure Nagaina away while Rikki goes to destroy her eggs. Darzee is too "featherbrained" to understand the importance of assisting Rikki, but his wife, who is a "sensible bird," ends up providing the distraction Rikki needs.

Rikki faces a challenge with a little brown snakeling named Kurait. Although it is a small snake, its bite is just as deadly as a cobra's. Rikki sees the snakeling getting ready to bite Teddy, and he goes into action. Rikki springs around skillfully and ends up on the snake's back, from where he is able to bite the snake's neck, paralyzing him.

The biggest challenges Rikki faces are with Nag and Nagaina, the large cobras. The fight with Nag in the bathroom is his greatest challenge because Nag is so large that Rikki's young teeth can't bite through Nag's thick neck below his hood—which would be the best place to bite in order to paralyze the snake with one bite. Rikki realizes he has no choice but to bite Nag on the head above the hood, but this means the snake will not be paralyzed immediately and will have the ability to thrash around. This is what happens, and Rikki hangs on for dear life as the cobra flings him repeatedly against the side of the bathtub. Just when Rikki is feeling "dizzy, aching, and ... shaken to pieces," the man enters with the shotgun. He fires and kills the snake. This was Rikki's biggest challenge, and if the man had not come to his rescue, Rikki may not have been able to win the battle. Nevertheless, the man credits Rikki with saving their lives.