The Jungle Book Questions and Answers
by Rudyard Kipling

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What are some of the identity issues of Mowgli in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The biggest problem for Mowgli is that he doesn't quite know who or what he is. Since he was first taken in by the wolf pack, he's become noticeably less human and more animal. At the same time, however, he can't completely ignore or escape his past as a human boy from a nearby village. Some of the other animals, such as Shere Khan, certainly won't let him forget his origins. Their refusal to accept Mowgli as an animal acts as a constant reminder to the young boy that he doesn't fully belong to the world of the jungle.

But then, he doesn't fully belong to the human world, either—the world he's left behind. Yet, somehow, Mowgli has to live out his ambiguous identity, forever caught between two worlds. This would be a hard enough task for an adult, but for a young boy it is doubly so.

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Mowgli's identity issues all have to do with a sense of belonging. As a human living amongst animals, he is always aware of how he is different from the members of his jungle community. The impact of his...

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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soleil0472 | Student

Mowgli is born as a human but grows up around the animals. This fact causes a big conflict in his identity. On one hand, his physical appearance, body structure and strength are still of a human being. On the other hand, his courage, his connection to the jungle and his definition of evil are nurtured by his jungle life. Even though he tries to fit into the life of the other animals in the jungle, his physical appearance still makes him different from them. However, when he tries to join the group of humankind, he finds that their evil is very different. Animals mostly fight and kill for survival or for hunger. Humans mostly kill for their pleasure. Mowgli has trouble with finding what is his true identity. He seems to be torn between the two different worlds. No matter how hard he tries to fit into both worlds, he does not seem to belong to either of them. The biggest problem here is that there is too much focus on the difference between the two, rather than the focus on the harmonization of what is similar.