What is the main conflict in "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"?  

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main conflict in Kipling's short story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is an external conflict.  Rikki is a mongoose, and a mongoose's mortal enemy is the cobra snake.  Throughout the story, Rikki feels that it is his duty to protect his human family from invaders.  The two main antagonists to Rikki's efforts are Nag and Nagaina, two cobra snakes.  They are evil snakes, and their mission is to hurt both Rikki and Rikki's adoptive human family.  They each have small victories over each other, but Rikki is able to successfully defeat both Nag and Nagaina by the end of the story.  There is a little bit of internal conflict in the story too, because Rikki is not a fearless, hulking hero.  The snakes do worry him, and he must overcome his apprehensions in order to beat them.