“The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling Essay (Critical Writing)
There is a great number of different masterpieces of literature in the world. Each of them describes some peculiar phenomenon or event. The majority of books are devoted to human beings and their feelings and emotions. There are, however, some works which are devoted to animals and their touching allegiance to people. Being very popular, this issue has always interested people. However, there are not many works which manage to combine description of the life of human beings, animals behaviour and visions of nature, trying to show the authors way of to reflect the real world. One of these works is called The Jungle Book and is written by Rudyard Kipling.
Devoted to the description of the life of a human being, the book, though, manages to combine this description with the visions of nature of the jungle and the laws according to which animals live there.
The main character of the story is a boy called Mowgli. The main peculiarity of this boy is the fact that he was raised by wolves and acts according to their code. In certain period of time this fact was taken as ridiculous and impossible. However, boys like Mowgli were found. That is why, it is possible to say that Kipling created a very interesting story which could be based on some real facts. Mowgli is able to understand animals and communicate with them, following the rules accepted in the jungle. All these facts make him a unique character who is very interesting for people.
Having created his story in the form of a tale, Kipling romanticized the life of animals and human beings in the jungle. However, there is one very important aspect of the jungle which the author describes. It is the law according to which animals live. Kipling uses the term the law of the jungle to describe existing set of codes according to which the community of wolves and other animals is structured. They all should follow it or they will not be able to survive.
All rules which are described by this law are wise and created by generations of animals in order to guarantee their survival. The law of the jungle outlines the main activity of animals, their main food and relations with other species. However, the Bandar-log do not accept these rules. They can be taken as rebels, who do not want to follow the majority. However, Kipling describes them as primitive and disorganised tribe which is not able to guarantee its prosperity. Outlining this fact, the author wants to show great importance of the law and norms which regulate behaviour in society.
Being created by Rudyard Kipling, the term the law of the jungle became very popular, though having changed its main meaning. Nowadays, it is widely used in order not to describe some set of codes accepted in society, but to show special kind of human attitude to the rest of people and his/her role in society. Everyone should take care only of himself/herself and be the strongest to survive in coherent society. This is the meaning of the term which prevails nowadays.
Besides, having read the book, it is impossible to remain indifferent. Having created interesting and fascinating world, Kipling also introduced the new term which described existence of animals in the jungle. The term the law of the jungle became the metaphor which is widely used nowadays.
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The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
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The Jungle Book Essays
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Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Books were first published in 1894 and 1895, and they feature stories about Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The stories have remained popular and have inspired numerous adaptations – but their attitudes have been questioned by some parents and critics, who see them as a relic of Britain’s colonial past.
Indeed, a classic way of reading the tales is as an allegory for the position of the white colonialist born and raised in India. Mowgli – the Indian boy who becomes “master” of the jungle – is understood to be – as Kipling scholar John McClure interprets it: “ behaving towards the beasts as the British do to the Indians ”.
So its interesting that among the wide variety of music to be performed at the 2019 Proms is Charles Koechlin’s Les Bandar-log . It’s a piece that he wrote in the first half of the 20th century as part of his nearly life-long effort to set the whole of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book to music . As a scholar whose focus has been both on Kipling’s children’s literature and, more broadly, the representation of animals in children’s fiction, I’ve been asked to take part in a BBC Radio 3 Proms Plus talk on the subject.
The classic account of Kipling, while persuasive in many ways, seems to me to be a bit limited. It misses some of the interesting questions the stories raise about notions of belonging and identity.
The standard account relies on the idea that the human and animal identities within the stories are clearly distinguished from each other and fixed – and that this fixed distinction extends via allegory to white colonial and Indian identities.
But what happens to our understanding of the stories if we don’t treat the human and animal identities as distinct? I would argue that a species name doesn’t necessarily fix a character’s identity in the reader’s mind’s eye.
For example, Bagheera, the black panther, is described in terms of a series of other animals: he is “as cunning as Tabaqui [the jackal], as bold as the wild buffalo, and as reckless as the wounded elephant”. Attributes that are supposedly intrinsic to one animal can be found in another. Like Bagheera, Mowgli describes himself in terms of other animals: “Mowgli the Frog have I been […] Mowgli the Wolf have I said that I am. Now Mowgli the Ape must I be before I am Mowgli the Buck,” and it is this process of transformation that will lead to the end in which he will become “Mowgli the Man”. In this way he blurs the distinction between himself and the other jungle inhabitants.
This undermines narratives of essential difference between species. If we follow this through with respect to the common allegorical reading that sets Mowgli apart from the animals, it also undermines claims that there are absolute differences between white colonialists and Indian “natives”.
Also take a closer look at the relationship of the child Mowgli to the inhabitants of the jungle and you’ll see the way this complicates accounts of the Jungle Books as straightforwardly imperialist in character.
The Jungle Book stories focus a great deal on the issue of belonging, raising questions about the grounds on which one may claim to belong to a particular group or community: is belonging a matter of being born a member of a group, or is it a matter of convention and social agreement?
Because Mowgli is raised by wolves and initiated into their society he has a hybrid identity. Shere Khan, the tiger, resists Mowgli’s hybrid identity, referring to it as “man-wolf folly”. He claims that his hatred of Mowgli is justified because Mowgli is intrinsically “a man, a man’s child”. On the other hand, Akela, the leader of the wolves, claims kinship with Mowgli on the basis that:
He has eaten our food. He has slept with us. He has driven game for us. He has broken no word of the Law of the Jungle. … He is our brother in all but blood.
For Akela, Mowgli’s belonging is secured by his actions and his conformity with wolf society. Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that the most strident advocate of the idea that identity and belonging are a matter of “blood” is Shere Khan, the villain of the piece.
Nuance and ambiguity
By the end of the first Mowgli story it may seem that those, like Shere Khan, who claim that one’s identity is what one is born to be, carry the day – since Mowgli is cast out of the jungle. Though he speaks of leaving the jungle and going to “his own people”, he also qualifies this with: “if they be my own people” and he also goes on to reassert his claim to be part of the wolf pack when he follows this with the promise: “There shall be no war between any of us in the pack.”
As Daniel Karlin points out in his Penguin Classics edition of The Jungle Books (1987) , Kipling changed this in his final collected edition of the stories to: “There shall be no war between any of us and the pack,” and so in the later edition “he already identifies with men”.
Either way, Mowgli does go on to rule the jungle rather than just remain a member of the jungle “family” as seems to be suggested by the recent Disney live-action/CGI film based on the stories. So there are ambiguities there, but a close reading of the Jungle Book stories leads me to feel that there is more to them than an imperialist narrative.
After a century or so during which Kipling has frequently been painted simply as a cheerleader for the “white man” and his burden – and at a time when questions of identity and belonging are particularly relevant for Britain – perhaps it’s time for a more nuanced reading of his classic works that allows their ambiguities and ambivalences to come to the fore.
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The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Examination of the Novel
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The Jungle Book Short Essay - Answer Key
1. Is the jackal respected by the other jungle creatures? Why or why not?
No, the jackal is not respected by the other jungle creatures. In the hierarchy of the jungle, he is among the lowest because of his scavenger tendencies.
2. Describe Mowgli's appearance when he first meets the wolf family and their impression of him.
Mowgli is a little, brown, naked boy. He can just walk, and the wolf family is impressed by his boldness.
3. How does the mother wolf approach the situation with the man-cub?
The mother wolf is quite to defend Mowgli from Shere Khan, and very protective. She loves having him as part of their pack.
4. How is the wolf pack easily influenced?
The wolf pack is easily influenced by first, the wolf pack is bribed by Bagheera with a bull, and later, Shere Khan convinces them to turn against Mowgli.
(read all 60 Short Essay Questions and Answers)
Short Essay On Jungle Book
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The jungle book is a story about an orphaned boy or man-cub named Mowgli who was abandoned in the jungle and was found by a panther named Bagheera who takes the boy to grow up with a pack of wolves where he was raised by Raksha. The stories are set in a forest in India. The book is one of the classic stories written by Rudyard Kipling. A major theme in the book is abandonment followed by fostering, as in the life of Mowgli, echoing Kipling's childhood.
A ten-year-old Mowgli becomes well acquainted with life in the jungle with the help of his wolf family. But being a human living in the jungle Mowgli was always in danger of some form. The wolf pack leader Akela tells Mowgli not to use his man tricks in front of the other animals when Mowgli uses the shell of fruit to grab water for himself during the drought that makes other animals look at him oddly (Akşehir 138). Then arrives the fearsome Sher Khan who is aware of Mowgli’s presence and considers Man to be forbidden in the jungle. Akela covers Mowgli and tells Sher Khan that he cannot have the boy. Sher Khan vows to come back for Mowgli once the river runs again. When the other wolves of the pack and Bagheera learned of the danger, they decided to take Mowgli back to the man-village. On their journey to the man village, Mowgli and Bagheera get separated once they come across a field of buffaloes where they are ambushed by Sher Khan. Bagheera holds the tiger off for Mowgli to run. The boy escapes and Sher Khan returns to the Peace Rock to confront the wolves where he throws Akela off the cliff and assumes leadership over the other animals and awaits for Mowgli to return. Now wandering alone in the jungle, Mowgli is met by yet another foe that tries to kill him. The snake called Kaa kept Mowgli under her spell with her hypnotic voice and eyes. Kaa told Mowgli of where he came from. She told him that he was an infant when his father came across a cave in the jungle and protected him from Sher Khan with the "red flower” (fire). Mowgli’s father blinded Sher Khan’s left eye and the tiger killed the man. As the boy was lost in her story, Kaa almost ate him by wrapping herself around Mowgli but a bear named Baloo saved him. Since he saved Mowgli’s life, he asked the boy to help him gather some honey. In the process of breaking off some honeycomb, Mowgli gets stung a few times but Baloo and Mowgli form a bond of friendship (Asghar and Muhammad 150). Baloo showed Mowgli that the human village is nearby and that he can go whenever he wanted, but Mowgli decided to stick with Baloo, who shows him all about the bare necessities of life.
As the story unfolds, we see Bagheera telling Baloo that he needed Mowgli to get to safety and away from Sher Khan. Baloo reluctantly tells Mowgli he never thought of him as a friend and wanted him to go away. Heartbroken, Mowgli retreats to a tree and gets captured by a group of monkeys. Baloo and Bagheera see this and follow. The monkeys bring Mowgli to the temple of King Louie, a massive orangutan. Louie claims he can protect Mowgli, but he wants to learn the secret of the red flower (fire) and thinks Mowgli can solve it. Mowgli says he cannot, sending Louie into a fit of rage. Baloo and Bagheera arrive in the nick of time and fight the monkeys while Louie chases Mowgli, taunting him as he tells him that Akela, the pack leader has been killed by Sher Khan and Bagheera knew about it. As Louie tries to get Mowgli, he runs through his temple, causing it to crumble and crush him. Infuriated that Bagheera didn’t tell him about Akela, Mowgli runs away and enters the man village undetected and takes a burning torch back into the jungle. As he runs back, the other animals see him with fire and follow (Park 228). A piece of ember falls from the torch and slowly starts a fire. Mowgli confronts Sher Khan as the other animals gather to watch. Sher Khan tries to turn the animals against Mowgli by stating that man has brought the red flower into the jungle. Mowgli tosses the torch right before Baloo and Bagheera show up. They along with the other animals, stand by Mowgli and against Sher Khan. Baloo battles Sher Khan. Bagheera tells Mowgli that he must fight like a man and not as a wolf. Sher Khan takes Baloo down, but before he can kill him, Raksha and other wolves attack Sher Khan. Mowgli sets a trap in the trees and waits for Sher Khan there (Mutiarani et al. 27). Escaping the wolves and Bagheera, the tiger climbs the tree and walks the branch where Mowgli is standing but Mowgli jumps to safety. Sher Khan ends up falling and is consumed by the fire. Mowgli returns to the other animals, and the river, aided by grateful elephants, turns its flow, putting out the fire. Mowgli finally reunites with his wolf brothers and Raksha. Baloo now lives close with Mowgli, Bagheera, and the other animals. The story of Mowgli later ends with Mowgli leaving the jungle bringing tears to the eyes of his friends in the jungle.
This story teaches us valuable life lessons as Mowgli undergoes an epic journey of self-discovery guided by a no-nonsense panther and a free-spirited bear. It is entertaining as the adventures described are so exciting. This story teaches us about the bond of friendship and unconditional love. It also explains to us the laws of nature and to face our fear. Mowgli was afraid of Sher Khan, but he faced his fear and so could defeat it. The stories also illustrate the freedom to move between different worlds, such as when Mowgli moves between the jungle and the village. The book describes the amazing bond between man and animals. The Jungle Book is the perfect book for a person who loves fun and adventure like me.
Akşehir Uygur, Mahinur. "PERCEPTION OF NATURE AND THE LANGUAGE OF IMPERIALISM IN RUDYARD KIPLING’S THE JUNGLE BOOK." Celal Bayar Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi 16.1/2 (2018): 129-140.
Asghar, Jamil, and Muhammad Iqbal Butt. "Contrapuntal Reading of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book: Theorizing the Raj through Narrativity." NUML Journal of Critical Inquiry 15.1 (2017): 144-160.
Mutiarani, Mutiarani, Hasanul Misbah, and Aliya Nafisa Karyadi. "Rudyard Kipling’s Novel the Jungle Book as Moral Literacy Material on EFL Learning." English Language in Focus (ELIF) 3.1 (2021): 23-30.
Park, Minjin. "A Cognitive Approach to the Formal Aspects of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book." Children's Literature Association Quarterly 45.3 (2020): 224-243.
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10 Lines Essay on Jungle Book in English for Students
- The Jungle Book is a collection of interesting stories.
- It is written by Rudyard Kipling.
- It was published in the year 1894
- The main character in this novel is a little boy named ‘Mowgli’.
- The first Jungle Book film was released in 1967.
- Jungle Book is still loved and adored by many kids till today.
- This was a work that made Rudyard win the Nobel Prize.
- The writer spent 12 years in India and therefore this story has a strong link with India as it is said to be one of his main inspirations.
- The writer wrote this story book for his dear daughter.
- It focuses on the relationship between humans and animals