Children’s literature is one very essential genre which, when looked at in retrospect, makes us realize what our favorite characters wanted to tell us when we were young. Years after we read Carol it made us feel what the white rabbit had meant, which then had not seemed to be much significant.
The Jungle Book movie adaption by Disney brings back some old, half remembered dusty moments from our childhood days. Rudyard Kipling was this sahib who picturised the culture and trends of the east through mimicking animal characters and those conditions prominently found in this society. Mowgli is the man-cub who accidentally is left behind in a deep jungle and the story is about Mowgli’s existence among wild beasts yet growing up like one of his kinds. The Jungle Book is a bunch of adventures wrapped along with a lot of important relationship lessons.
Here are the five characters from the jungle book that would help us knowing the kinds of people we have living around us.
Bagheera, the black panther was the one who found Mowgli from a cave with glistering eyes and red pajamas and decided to hand him over to the pack of wolves. He was like this watch person who would stealthily wander around Mowgli keeping an eye on him to make sure he is safe. Bagheera is apparently the strong keeper of the laws but then accepts new changes. Like for example, he had never allowed Mowgli to use his tricks as he was considered a wolf but at the end he asks Mowgli to fight like a man at the final face off with Shere Khan. He is one of those characters in our lives who keep us training for harder reality.
One of the interesting styles of Kipling is his way of naming characters. Raksha is the only mother Mowgli ever knew. It was not an easy job protecting and bringing him up as one of her other cubs but Raksha not only believed in but also voiced for it, mine to me. Raksha is the embodiment of the mother who can go fierce when it comes to the protection of her children. It reminds us of the immense courage of all mothers who adopt children in a society like ours where adoption is not a smooth act to perform.
Baloo teaches us the most important lesson in life, i.e. the bare necessity in life is eating (notice the pun on the word ‘bare’). He can convince logically and emotionally Mowgli to climb up a steep hill to bring him honey because he has to eat his weight. Baloo reminds us that being a sloth and a lazy person is not that bad after all because we can always stand up for our friends and fight back Shere Khan if situation be so, just that we need not show our true colours all the time.
4. Shere Khan
Oh yes! Shere khan is that continuous negative force that can just not stop troubling you and gives you the ultimate source to bring out all possible powers in you. On the literal level Shere Khan is the dominating autocrat power claiming to be in the ultimate position. Kipling reminds us of the colonial rule and the number of rulers squeezing us to our last edge of existence (not mentioning anything about the present time).
The name Akela gives us the clear image of the position of a leader of a tribe. To try and position himself in fulfilling all necessary duties he becomes lonely in the personal sphere of life. He is that just figure, who balances desires and laws. He can stand up for his decisions and eventually gets killed as any such being would.
The Jungle Book is the story of a character who is differently-able (considering Mowgli amidst the jungle) in the society he is placed. It is the survival and acceptance of such characters subverting the conventional norms. The Jungle Book is much more than it seems, though the movie could not develop all the relationships into much details maybe due to the time constraint but overall it will give one the gush of nostalgia and the glimpse of the good old days spent in believing hope and positivity.
Written by: Subhalaxmi Chakraborty