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 infant. He takes to life in the jungle well: he becomes a member of the Wolf Pack and learns the Law of the Jungle. It seems as though the jungle is where Mowgli belongs, but his humanity complicates matters.
Shere Khan the tiger has been pursuing Mowgli for a long time and sees an opportunity to take the boy when the leader of the wolves, Akela, grows weak. Akela cannot lead forever, and the younger wolves will likely turn against Mowgli once the old wolf's leadership ends, as Shere Khan has gained some support from much of the pack. Mowgli ends up protecting himself from Shere Khan by using fire, and he then swears to return one day and kill the tiger once and for all. The use of fire instantly sets Mowgli apart as human, and shortly after he leaves the wolves, he lives among other humans in a village.
Unfortunately, Mowgli does not fare well among humans either. Just as the animals turned against him, the humans are suspicious of Mowgli and ultimately brand him as a demon or sorcerer before sending him into exile. In the end, though he rids the jungle of Shere Khan's influence, Mowgli becomes a lone hunter as the result of his dual rejection by animals and humans.