Introduction to The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is a collection of short stories by Rudyard Kipling. Published in 1894, the collection focuses on the lives of jungle animals in India, as well as the journey of Mowgli, an abandoned human boy who is raised by wolves. Kipling, an English author, was raised in India, and regional folklore heavily influenced the short story collection. Many modern critics view the work as an allegory for the English occupation of India as a colony, and Kipling is often noted for his endorsement of imperialism. However, even critics who approach Kipling’s works through a colonialist lens have noted the unique and compelling nature of The Jungle Book. Its enduring popularity has been aided by frequent adaptations, including a popular animated film. It is also one of the founding texts of the scout movement, and allusions to the collection have been integrated into the vernacular of scouting hierarchies.

One of the recurring motifs across the story collection is the importance of obedience to the law. The so-called law of the jungle allows the animals to maintain a sort of civilized society, and adherence to these rules is vital to the preservation of civilization as a whole. Freedom exists as a result of a broader system of protections, and those who do not adhere to society’s rules face isolation and loneliness. Abandonment and belonging are especially salient to Mowgli’s journey, as he finds himself an outsider in both human and animal communities. Obeying the laws of the jungle becomes the means through which Mowgli can—at least temporarily—fit in. However, at key moments, Mowgli displays another positive trait: courage. Duty, responsibility, and bravery are all celebrated as vital in terms of both personal development and the maintenance of civilization.

A Brief Biography of Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936) was a major English writer of the Victorian and Edwardian ages. Born in British Colonial India, Kipling traveled to England for his education as a boy, returned to India in his adolescence to take up work as a journalist, and finally settled in England to launch his literary career. His writing ranged across forms, encompassing novels, short stories, and poems. His work reflects his experiences living in British Colonial India, and he is often viewed as a writer who embodies the ethos of the British Empire at the height of its powers. His best-known works include the short story collection The Jungle Book (1894) and the novel Kim (1901).

Frequently Asked Questions about The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

As the reader moves through the various stories about Mowgli, we see that there are a lot of laws in the Law of the Jungle. More than likely, readers don't ever get to know all of the laws, since...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2021, 3:33 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The resolution of a work of literature is the conclusion of a story. Usually, though not always, it is that moment at the end of a work, after the excitement is over, in which the reader is left...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2021, 12:16 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

There is a moment in The Jungle Book in which Mowgli reaches up and under Bagheera's chin. There Mowgli discovers that Bagheera has a bald spot. The panther explains that nobody in the jungle knows...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2021, 6:05 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book fits several genres. Firstly, it fits into the adventure tradition. Adventure stories feature characters who embark on dangerous quests and face physical threats. Adventure stories...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2021, 11:44 am (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling is a wonderful work of fictional literature, and not many people realize that the entire book is not focused on Mowgli. The Jungle Book is actually a compilation...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2021, 4:26 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book is set in India, where Kipling spent the first several years of his life. He returned there to work as a young adult when his family did not have the money to send him to Oxford....

Latest answer posted July 15, 2021, 12:01 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

True stories of humans rescued and raised by wolves exist. For example, in the nineteenth century, Dina Sanichar was discovered at age six living in a cave among wolves in India. But while Rudyard...

Latest answer posted July 16, 2021, 11:24 am (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The question of Mowgli's identity and place in the world serve as one of the major problems in The Jungle Book. Mowgli is a human child who was adopted by wolves when he was little more than an...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2021, 11:22 am (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book, though a collection of short stories, carries similar messages throughout its various adventures. Some stories are about Mowgli, a man's cub that is adopted by a wolf pack, while...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2021, 2:08 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

Shere Khan does not kill Baloo in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Despite being portrayed as a villain throughout Kipling's books and their movie adaptations, Shere Khan kills a surprisingly...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2021, 3:19 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The list of characters that die in The Jungle Book include Shere Khan, Tabaqui, Karait, Nag, Nagaina, and the latter couple's babies in the eggs. The majority of these characters die in the story...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2021, 2:26 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

While The Jungle Book movies show Baloo teaching Mowgli "The Bare Necessities" in song and generally how to be carefree, the Baloo of the book is a much more serious character. He is so serious and...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2021, 2:49 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

Kaa is the name of the snake character in Rudyard Kipling's 1894 anthology collection The Jungle Book. He is a thirty-foot-long python most distinguished by his mystical powers of hypnosis (to...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2021, 11:56 am (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

Without a doubt, Shere Khan is a villainous character. He is motivated by his desire for ultimate power over the jungle, and he desires to kill Mowgli at any cost because of his intense hatred for...

Latest answer posted July 15, 2021, 11:34 am (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

"Mowgli's Brothers" begins with Father Wolf and Mother Wolf waking up in the early evening. Father Wolf is about to begin hunting when Tabaqui the jackal arrives. Tabaqui brings bad news. He says...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2021, 1:25 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The Laws of the Jungle are found throughout the text of The Jungle Book. Readers learn them alongside Mowgli or through discussions between the wolves. Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2021, 1:31 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

The incident with Mowgli and the fire occurs near the end of "Mowgli's Brothers," which is the first chapter of The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. The vicious tiger Shere Khan is determined to...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2021, 12:36 am (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

To put it simply, Shere Khan is angry that the wolves have adopted Mowgli, as he hates humans and feels that Mowgli is his to kill. This rage all stems from an inferiority complex. Shere Khan was...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2021, 11:23 am (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

Shere Khan the tiger comes to the wolf cave seeking Mowgli because he says the child belongs to him and that he has the right to kill him. Mother Wolf, who with her husband has rescued the very...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2021, 12:39 pm (UTC)

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The Jungle Book

According to Mother Wolf, Shere Khan has a bad paw because he was born that way. He is sometimes called Lungri or "the Lame One." The bad paw causes problems in the jungle. Because of it, Shere...

Latest answer posted July 14, 2021, 11:48 am (UTC)

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Summary