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The main idea and message of The Jungle Book


The main idea of The Jungle Book is the adventure and growth of Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the jungle. Its message highlights the importance of community, respect for nature, and the balance between civilization and the wild, emphasizing themes of survival, identity, and the moral lessons learned from both animal and human societies.

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What's the main idea of The Jungle Book?

Most people find it somewhat surprising that The Jungle Book is seven short stories. Most of them are unrelated to each other, and some of them are not even in the jungle. Most people assume that The Jungle Book is the story of Mowgli and his adventures with jaguars, monkeys, snakes, etc. For the purpose of this answer, I'm going to take the book as a whole. I don't believe all readers will agree that there is a single main idea. Different readers are going to find certain themes more central than other themes. For me, there has always been a large focus on the theme of family. Mowgli might not be a wolf, but that doesn't change the sense of family and belonging that he experienced with them for many years. The wolves themselves are representative of a family unit as well. They are a pack animal. Rikki-Tikki feels a sense of belonging with the family that rescued him, and he fights to protect them. That leads to another strong theme present throughout the stories: the theme of courage. Mowgli bravely faces the unknown as well as Shere Khan himself, and Rikki-Tikki places himself in grave danger when he goes down the snake hole.

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What is the message of 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 others are about a heroic mongoose or an old elephant. Despite the variety, the stories do carry similar messages to readers. One of these messages is that family is more than blood relation or even species relation. Mowgli is adopted by a wolf pack. He is different from the pack, but the pack also makes it clear that Mowgli needs to adhere to pack rules and traditions. He is treated like a regular member of the family, despite not being born of the pack or an actual wolf. We see this family message repeated in the story about Rikki-tikki-tavi. He is adopted by a human family and risks his own life to protect the humans rather than stay out of the snakes' way.

Another message in The Jungle Book is about the environment and the importance of caring for it, as we humans are only a small part of the whole. The book does a wonderful job of showing readers how humans are a single species among many that are present on Earth. We have unique skills that other animals do not have, but other species have unique skills that we do not have. Each creature has a unique place within the environment or biosphere, and because we are a piece of a whole, we need to help care for and maintain the whole.

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In the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, what is the law of the jungle?

In Rudyard Kipling’s famous story The Jungle Book, he depicts a young boy, Mowgli, living all alone in the middle of a jungle, working alongside the animals. In the story, Mowgli lives in a pseudo-society within the jungle, and the society is governed by the “Law of the Jungle." This law essentially is that of the animals, the strong kill the weak, and you will get retribution for the bad things you do.

It is a simplistic and animalistic idea that essentially just means nature is wild and dangerous. Mowgli learns to live in this environment and is able to survive in spite of these troubles. He is intelligent and resourceful, which keeps him safe, but the chaotic law of nature makes it a very dangerous place indeed.

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In the Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, what is the law of the jungle?

Kipling's "law of the jungle" has an entirely different meaning than the colloquial phrase often interpreted as "anything goes."

It is the code of law governing the behavior of the individual wolf and defines his rights and responsibilities within the wolf pack. Because obedience to the code helps to ensure the prosperity of the wolf and the pack, the punishment for disobedience is death.

The law mandates proper daily grooming and forbids drinking water to excess. Wolves are to hunt at night and sleep in the day. Wolves are not to feed on leftovers from lions but to get their own food. Certain animals are to be respected and avoided: the tiger, the panther, the bear, the snake, and the boar. Encounters with other wolf packs should be left to the diplomacy of the leaders. Fights between wolves in the pack should take place far away and only between the two so the pack is not embroiled in conflict.

A wolf's lair is private, and all wolves must respect this privacy. The only exception is that if it is too visible, the council may ask that it be moved. Wolves are not to howl over their kills before midnight lest they scare game away from others. Killing is only for food and never for pleasure. Wolves must never kill men, under any circumstances.

If you plunder food from a weaker wolf, don't eat it all. Leave the head and hide for the weakest. A kill should be shared where it lies and never hauled back to one's lair. The wolf that brought down the kill must give permission for others to partake of it.

Wolf cubs under a year have the right to eat of all kills after the hunter has eaten. A mother gets one haunch of each kill for her litter. A father has the right to hunt for his own, only subject to the council. Because of his cunning and skill, the word of the head wolf is law.

This is a didactic poem meant to instruct its young readers in the rights and duties of social life. Although the poem applied ostensibly to wolves, its teachings are frequently metaphors for how to behave in human society.

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What is the message in the poem "The Law of the Jungle" in The Jungle Book?

We can learn a lot from wolves.  Pohnpei did a good job explaining the benefits of wolf responsibility and how humans can learn a lot from their wolf society in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as a whole and "The Law of the Jungle" specifically.  Let's take a look at some specifics of the poem that show the rights and responsibilities of wolves (and people).

Interestingly enough, Kipling begins with the responsibilities and ENDS with the rights!  Both are almost always contained in the first line of a stanza.  Let's begin with what Kipling does:  responsibilities.  There are many, but here are a few important ones

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, / ...
But kill not for pleasure

The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf.

If humans need to learn one thing it is not to kill "for pleasure."  Wolves, according to Kipling, have the same responsibility.  You will see quickly that rights and responsibilities begin to blend together.  While the pack has a responsibility to help kill, they all have the right to eat it.  However, if one wolf makes a kill, he can eat it on his own.

Now, Kipling believes, it is finally time to discuss the rights of the wolf.

Pack-Right is the right of the meanest

Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling

Lair-Right is the right of the Mother.

Cave-Right is the right of the Father --

Here we learn that the meanest wolves are left the best meat. Further, the young are able to eat as much as they want when they want in "full-gorge."  No wolf can deny a young cub this right.  We also learn that mother wolves have major rights, too, called the "lair-right."  This, again, is about food for the young, actually.  A mother is allowed to take any "haunch" for her young so that they can eat before they can claim it for themselves as cubs.  Finally, the wolf fathers have rights, too.  Fathers are welcome to actually ignore the call of the pack and hunt for their own family.

Thus, you can see that the message of the poem is that wolves have responsibilities before rights.  Humans should have the same.

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What is the message in the poem "The Law of the Jungle" in The Jungle Book?

The message of this poem is that the wolves of the forest have both rights and responsibilities.  It is saying that wolves should have a great deal of freedom, but that their freedom should not extend to allowing them to do things that will hurt their community.  This can be read as a commentary on Kipling's part about how human society should run.

As an example, we are told that a wolf's lair is his "refuge" and that not even the head wolf may enter without permission.  That shows that wolves have rights.  At the same time, however, if the wolf has "digged it too plain," the Council can tell him to "change it again."  This means that the wolf cannot use his rights to do something (like having his den where humans can find it) that will endanger the pack.

These parts of the law show that wolves have rights, but they also have responsibilities to their communities.

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