How do Darzee and Chuchundra draw attention to Rikki's bravery?

Quick answer:

Chuchundra and Darzee both tell Rikki's bravery story in different ways. Chuchundra insults Rikki, but does so because he acknowledges the danger Rikki is in. Darzee sings his praises for saving the family. These two characters provide a contrast to Rikki's bravery that highlights it.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" the two characters Chuchundra and Darzee draw attention to Rikki's bravery in opposite ways. Chuchundra insults Rikki by implying that he is a ruthless murderer and dangerous. Chuchundra, a whimpering, cowardly muskrat, first says to Rikki, "Don't kill me," to which Rikki reacts with scorn. Chuchundra then imagines that Rikki's presence is a danger to him even indirectly because the snakes might attack Chuchundra, thinking he is Rikki. This shows Chuchundra recognizes Rikki's bravery, even though he does not appreciate it.

Darzee draws attention to Rikki's bravery by literally singing his praises. After Rikki has helped kill Nag, Darzee sings out from his tree, "The valiant Rikki-Tikki caught him by the head and held fast." He relates the entire story of Nag's death and continues, "Let us sing about the great, the red-eyed Rikki-Tikki." This shows us how brave the other animals perceive Rikki to be. 

These incidents describe how the characters reveal Rikki's bravery. In literary terms, they reveal his bravery in another way as well. Chuchundra and Darzee are foils for Rikki. Foils are characters who reflect the qualities of another character by providing a contrast. Chuchundra's whimpering cowardice and Darzee's unwillingness to engage in the battle himself contrast with Rikki's life in the trenches. Rikki states, "It's war for me down here." Rikki is the only one of the animals who dares directly confront the snakes. By providing a stark contrast to Rikki's bravery, Chuchundra and Darzee spotlight Rikki's courage. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial