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Feral children have always fascinated us and have motivated mythical stories and films. The
Jungle Book is a collection of short children’s stories narrated by Rudyard Kipling in 1894 that
attends to the topic of feral children by recounting the life and experiences of Mowgli, also
called the man-cub, a child raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The book has been dramatized
in a film produced by Disney.
Mowgli is the main character in this book. He is a young boy that has been brought up among
wolves in the jungle after being abandoned. Therefore, he is also known as the man-cub by the
other animals in the jungle.
The other characters in Mowgli’s life include the pack of wolves, led by Akela. One family in
this pack raised Mowgli from a toddler into a young, active, and brave child. In addition,
Bagheera is the panther that rescued him from an abandoned boat and delivered him to the wolf
pack, Baloo, a bear that saves Mowgli from monkeys, and Shanti and Ranjan, who are human
beings from a nearby village who become Mowgli’s close friends (Kipling 32). Other characters
that influence Mowgli’s life include Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger that hates humans, and Kaa, a
python that attempts to eat him.
Support Structures
The book supports a child’s home environment by demonstrating the importance of parental love
of children to the growth and development of children. In this regard, a pack of wolves serves as
parents to a human boy and supports his development by exhibiting unconditional love. When
confronted by Shere Khan when Mowgli was first discovered in the wild, mother wolf declares
that, “the man’s cub is mine, Lungri–mine to me! He shall not be killed” do demonstrate that she
loved Mowgli and would protect him with her life (Kipling 9).
The story begins with discovering the young abandoned boy and how he is brought into a wolf
family for care. The boy is reared communally in a jungle with several members contributing to
his education. For instance, he is taught loyalty by the wolf pack and laws of the jungle and
survival tactics by Bagheera, the panther and Baloo the bear. He also encounters enemies, like
Shere Khan, a Bengal tiger that hates humans, and Kaa, a python that attempts to eat him. The
story narrates how the feral boy struggles with self-identity as he becomes attracted to human life
after being attracted to Shanti, a girl from a nearby village. The book ends with Mowgli rejecting
human life and reverting to jungle life, to which he is accustomed.
Mowgli, the protagonist and main character, struggles with self-identity. The young boy had
always thought of himself as a wolf until he became an adult and realized that he was human.
Nonetheless, he is torn between jungle and village life, and after experiencing both, he opts for
jungle life, where he feels more accepted by animals than humans. In this regard, the stories in
the book demonstrate the limitations of nurturing, when Mowgli cannot become acculturated
with humans. As he enters adulthood, Mowgli decides to go to the village and live among
humans. However, despite being a human being, he experienced many difficulties in
transitioning into human life and decided to revert to jungle life to which he is accustomed.
Similarly, Mowgli is challenged by being too trusting of strangers, which easily places him in
harm’s way. For instance, Mowgli befriended and trusted Shanti without realizing that other
humans would despise him for being a feral child. In another instance, Mwogli trusts monkeys
and plays with them without realizing that they could harm him.
On the positive side, Mowgli exhibits several strengths. Firstly, Mowgli demonstrates loyalty,
which wins him critical friends. His loyalty to the animals in the jungle wins him Bagheera and
Baloo as lifetime friends. Mowgli also demonstrated intellect by being a fast learner of the
animal’s way of life. He developed many jungle skills, some of which are better than those of
other animals. For instance, when he says, “The jungle has many tongues. I know then all”,
Mowgli demonstrates that he has developed superior linguistic skills by being capable of talking
to different animals, a skill that many animals in the jungle did not possess (Kipling 34).
Critical Review
I liked the book because it addresses a critical question of the relationship between humans and
animals and the myth surrounding feral children, which brings to light the issues related to the
environment around a child. Although these questions are intellectually deep, the book addresses
them in simplified form. Specifically, the book delves into the issues of nature versus nurture as
the key contributors to human growth and development. The story evokes the fragility of civility
in humans by illustrating that human beings can live harmoniously with animals if they are
taught so at an early age. However, in this narrative, moral lessons are incorporated. Therefore,
the readers can benefit from the moral lessons that are wrapped in fiction and mythology, thus
ensuring that the reader remains engaged. The valuable moral lessons include loyalty, gratitude,
and heroism (Selian, Suhadi, and Manugeren 53).
However, the book overstretches reality by indicating that human being can choose animals over
other human beings. The book seems to suggest that animals are more humane than human
beings and therefore capable of being more considerate than people. To suggest that animals are
better in interpersonal relations than humans may send a distorted message to young readers who
may hold it as truth. This may have adverse implications in the development of self-esteem if an
individual feels incapable because of being human.
The character development in the book is similar to the typical developmental profile of children
in several ways. Firstly, children respond positively to their immediate environment and
caregivers at an early age unconditionally. In this case, the initial caregiver is the most
significant person in a child’s life, regardless of whether that is a human or an animal. This
explains why feral children adopt animal behaviors if raised in the wild from a tender age. This
indicates the typical emotional development of a child at a very young age in which emotional
attachment is forged with a caregiver. Secondly, children can develop multiple languages at an
early age, which is a typical development feature. Mowgli learns the languages of the different
animals and can talk to more animals than other animals in the jungle can.
I would recommend this book to children and parents. Children can learn several valuable moral
lessons, while developing their imagination, while parents can learn some parenting skills from
the highlighted essential life lessons. The book can also be used in a home and school setting.
The book employs simple language, making it useful for language development in young
Rudyard Kipling’s narrations about Mowgli, in The Jungle Book, are one of the many stories that
surround the mythical nature of feral children that have been told across many cultures.
However, Mowgli’s story is different from many other familiar stories about feral children in that
it depicts him as being interested in exploring his human nature, albeit unsuccessfully. Also, this
story demonstrated the identity crisis confronting feral children, who, after becoming encultured
in jungle life, intentionally pursues the same among humans, while other stories often highlight
the irreversible detachment of feral children from human beings. Unfortunately, the Jungle Book
does not resolve the age-old question of whether humans lose their humanity when reared among
wild animals. Nonetheless, it is suitable to children and adult audiences and delivers valuable
lessons to each of them.

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